Friday, October 31, 2014

Notes on Praying Persistently

These are my notes from an independent Bible study I did to get encouragement to keep praying. I apologize in advance for any errors in grammar or spelling. Life is very full at the moment. I'd rather everything was just right before sharing, but then with my limited time and very flawed self I'd never get to share! 

Persistencefirm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition

Persistent prayer: continual petitioning the Most High to interceded in a situation



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Luke 11:5-8 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose one of you went to your friend’s house very late at night and said to him, ‘A friend of mine has come into town to visit me. But I have nothing for him to eat. Please give me three loaves of bread.’ Your friend inside the house answers, ‘Go away! Don’t bother me! The door is already locked. My children and I are in bed. I cannot get up and give you the bread now.’  I tell you, maybe friendship is not enough to make him get up to give you the bread. But he will surely get up to give you what you need if you continue to ask.


Luke 11:9-10 So I tell you, continue to ask, and God will give to you. Continue to search, and you will find. Continue to knock, and the door will open for you.  Yes, whoever continues to ask will receive. Whoever continues to look will find. And whoever continues to knock will have the door opened for them.

Luke 18:1-8 Then Jesus taught the followers that they should always pray and never lose hope. He used this story to teach them: “Once there was a judge in a town. He did not care about God. He also did not care what people thought about him. In that same town there was a woman whose husband had died. She came many times to this judge and said, ‘There is a man who is doing bad things to me. Give me my rights!’ But the judge did not want to help the woman. After a long time, the judge thought to himself, ‘I don’t care about God. And I don’t care about what people think. But this woman is bothering me. If I give her what she wants, then she will leave me alone. But if I don’t give her what she wants, she will bother me until I am sick.’” The Lord said, “Listen, there is meaning in what the bad judge said.  God’s people shout to him night and day, and he will always give them what is right. He will not be slow to answer them. I tell you, God will help his people quickly. But when the Son of Man comes again, will he find people on earth who believe in him?


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John Wesley, the great Methodist preacher, encountered many time of refusal, and denial, during his early years in the ministry. He logged a few of these instances in his diary:



Sunday A.M., May 5:Preached in St. Anne’s. Asked not to come back. 
Sunday P.M., May 5:Preached in St. John’s. Deacons said, "Get out, and stay out!"
Sunday A.M., May 12:Preached in St. Jude’s. Can’t go back there either.
Sunday P.M., May 19:Preached in St. Somebody Else’s. Deacons called special meeting, and said I couldn’t return.
    Sunday A.M., May 26:Preached on street. Kicked off street.
Sunday A.M., June 2:Preached at the edge of town. Kicked off highway. 
Sunday P.M., June 2:Preached in a pasture. Ten thousand came.

If you and I are to get an answer, it may take some action. Consistent, and persistent action! I believe that George Mueller, the great prayer warrior said it well, when he said, "The great fault of the children of God is, they do not continue in prayer; they do not go on praying; they do not persevere!" read more here

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Being persistent in prayer has taught me:
  • The word widow conveys to the reader that she was poor, helpless, without power or influence, and had a burden of need. We are the widow. 
  • God is the One with power but is so much better and kinder than the king in the parable. Our petitions will not be ignored.
  • When we have done all we can do and made many efforts on our own, we have to leave it in God's Hands. This teaches us about our weakness and complete dependence upon Him. We have to surrender our will to God's will and timing. 
  • Persistence in prayer teaches us the situation isn't about us. God has authority over the situation and will be the one who gets the victory.
  • Real, earnest prayer is hard work. It will take effort and leave you tired.  Luke 22:44
  • Prayer warriors are always on duty with no vacations. I Thessalonians 5:17
  • Keep an attitude of thankfulness while waiting. I Thessalonians 5:18
  • Persistent teaches us patience. 
  • Persistence in prayer brings us into alignment with God's will. 
  • Dependence upon God allows Him to work through our weakness.
  • Persistence in prayer makes us more aware of the spiritual warfare. It's not flesh and blood we are battling. Ephesians 6:12
  • There are things going on in the spiritual realm. Daniel 10:10-14
Ephesians 6:18 Pray in the Spirit at all times. Pray with all kinds of prayers, and ask for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready. Never give up. Always pray for all of God’s people.

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When to quit praying:
  • If there is an answer that changes the situation whether it is the one you wanted or not. (Person is clearly not going to be healed. The man you desired for a husband marries another woman. Item is sold before your money is saved. The job is offered to another person.)
  • Change of heart. God lifts the burden. You have peace and will stop thinking so much about the situation. There is a difference between a burden from the Lord and anxiety. A burden will be relieved for a while during and after prayer.
  • You realize you are not praying for God's will but your own selfish desires. Change how you are praying about the situation.
  • God has answered you by leading you to take action. Then start praying for courage to follow through and head immediately in the direction He sends you. Obedience to Him (or lack thereof) demonstrates our level of faith (I John 2:3-6). Obedience brings reward (James 1:22–25). If growing faith doesn't get you motivated to follow through, then God's blessings and favor certainly should.

Sometimes You Do Your Best Work on the Sidelines

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Even when it is stressful, we try to keep our attitudes in check and use a sense of humor to ease the tension. This makes it more pleasant for everyone! This picture was taken in early October while he was dealing with a difficult tree. 

I was taught that if someone is doing something risky, you work in teams even if productivity is lost due to one person being there only as a safety measure. Clint saw the value in this early in our marriage and is on board with me being an extra set of eyes and ears when he does things that put him in harm's way. If it is very dangerous, Clint has me watch at a safe distance away while he is working. I believe in being proactive, so I keep a phone with me and think through a plan in my head for emergencies.

Normally, cutting down trees to heat our home is enjoyable for my husband. He's cut down some huge trees over the years including one that measured 78' tall! For the average guy who isn't a lumberjack by trade, that's a good sized tree! Clint recently had his very worst day cutting down trees.  It's always come easily to him; I've never seen him struggle with it before.

It was the first time in our 20+ years of getting our own heat for winter that I was concerned for his life. It seemed every tree he went after was determined to do the opposite of what it should. It was a very trying day on his body and my nerves!

The worst possible thing I could have done during this hectic day would have been to criticize him, unload my worries on him, or failed to do as he told me to do. If I had blamed or criticized him, I would have torn him down and eroded his confidence. When someone is having a hard day, they need us to build them up not make it worse! If I had unloaded my worries and fear on Clint, I might have messed up his thinking which needed to be clear to analyze, diagnose, and find a solution. If I had moved from where he told me to stay, I could have distracted him and caused him to suffer injury or worse because of his great concern for my safety. 

I have a tremendous amount of love and respect for my husband, so I try to look out for his best interests and do as he tells me. I do express my concerns at the appropriate moment...once. Then I try to keep my mouth shut and take my worries to the Lord. I also pray constantly for Clint's wisdom, skill, and safety. Ladies, make sure your worry and fears do not become an additional burden to your husband. Be wise and build you marriage.

Proverbs 21:23 Watch your words and hold your tongue; you'll save yourself a lot of grief.

Proverbs 14:1 Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.





Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pondering the Seasons

After I lost Isaac, I asked the Lord to close my womb. I knew that my body could not physically take another round of hyperemesis gravidarum. I didn't think my heart could take another loss either. 

Most of the bad memories of that pregnancy and birth have faded, but I do vividly remember seeing the entire bottom of the bathtub turn bright red when I threw up while showering. I remember growing weaker when the bleeding would not stop and the concern I'd pass out before I could get help. At that time, Isaac was still very much alive and kicking in my womb. He died weeks later.

I've been part of several studies, and to date, I am the only woman I know that suffers from HG to this extent who has had as many pregnancies as I have. I can take comfort in the fact that I did not let it limit me. His strength shines in us when we are at our weakest.

I realize not everyone feels the call to surrender in the same manner, but I was strongly convicted my womb belonged to the Lord. When I took this to Clint, he said he had been feeling led in the same manner but did not want to be the one to bring it up because it was my body which would take the toll. Then, God sent us friends who had been challenged by the Lord in the same manner followed by a group of Christians who felt the same leading. It was a time we felt the Lord leading us so clearly.

Writing about it is much easier than it was. I had fears. How in the world would I manage to care for many children? My youth could not see the skills I would develop or the grace that would arrive in just the right moments. How would I survive the severe vomiting? Again, I didn't see what God would teach me this time about endurance and patience and being weak. I learned about getting through the moment and not worrying about the next. HG is a lonely disorder; it isolates you. God taught me about solitude and listening for His voice through that. Did I truly trust God knew more than my human reasoning? It was a leap of faith because that road did not look like anything I wanted to go down! It looked horrible! Some parts of it were much worse than I imagined!! It was so hard. Surrender means to submit to authority. Our desires, our will, our sticking points fall to the wayside when we surrender. It costs us something to follow the Lord. It is so very worth it. He was faithful to lead, sustain, and teach me. What we think will be a loss turns out to be a big gain!

I have beautiful scars that tell the story of a girl who followed where the Lord lead and learned incredible things she can now use for His glory. God not only knew what He was doing He was giving me what I had prayed years for: a broader witness for Him! My story of hyperemesis gravidarum and pregnancy losses has been around the world. So many people from different countries have read the story that I have lost count! I have made so many friends through it. My relationship with the Lord has deepened. I couldn't see where He was leading at the beginning. Now I see! The path less traveled has views few get to experience! If you are convicted God is leading you to do something, and it is in line with Scripture as a whole, I encourage you to run, not walk, and don't look back.

On a side note, I wonder how many prayers we think go unanswered simply because we will not follow where He leads because it looks scary or embarrassing or might cause us emotional and physical pain or insult our sense of pride or cost us something in some way? We get so greedy and expect things to be easy. We forget God requires much of us and that this life is likened to running a long distance race. 

The doctor tells me I am still very fertile and healthy and while there has been plenty of opportunity, I have not conceived since Isaac. While I can't say what the Lord's plans for the future are, I do believe my reproductive life has ended. God has been gracious to me. I am grateful but not joyful.  I am a little sad still but relieved too. It's a different place than any I have been. I am trying learn all I can.

My youngest is 5, about to turn 6, so I still have young ones, but I do not have little ones. I have had babies around for so long, I really don't know what life is like without them. There are no diapers in the house. I don't have to worry about middle of the night feedings. The baby toys and furniture are getting dusty in the attic. For the first time ever, I am giving away children's clothing, toys, and furnishings! It's a new season in my life. One thing I did not expect when I felt called to give God that part of my life was how very much I would grow to love it or how sad it would be when it was finished.

I am going to miss having babies.

I am going to miss feeling my babies move inside of me and knowing that God is doing something miraculous right inside of my body.

I am going to miss my family taking joy in those first movements and talking through my belly to our "wee one" with prayers and songs and sweet messages of love.

I am going to miss my husband's tears, special look my way, and deep gratitude at the gift of a new child. He has never worn the same expression at any other moment as when he was holding one of our children for the first time.

I am going to miss the newborn stage with the sweet smell, soft downy hair, warm tender skin, deep sleeps, startles, and snugly breastfeeding times.

I am going to miss the toothless grins, new teeth, awkward attempts to control their body, rolling, sitting up, crawling, pulling up, toddling, and learning to make those chubby little legs run.

I am going to miss the deep belly laughs only a baby can give along with the first sounds and words as they learn to communicate. Those sweet hugs and sloppy kisses, how my reassurance can make it all better, them letting me see things differently through their eyes.....

I am going to miss all of those things and many, many more, but trust there will be new things in this new phase of life I will also fall in love with and cherish just as much. I will be savoring each of these in turn because I know seasons quickly change. 

This is a new journey I am on, and I know if I am humble and willing to surrender where the Lord leads, I will grow to love this journey and He will work just as much as He did in others. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

TOUCHDOWN!

My grandparents had a farm. My grandmother liked chickens and kept all sorts of breeds. I think I was three or four when she showed me a broody hen for the first time. She told me, "When you come again, there will be chicks!" And, there were! I was amazed! I was also amazed at how gentle and patient she was with the broody hen she was gathering eggs from underneath. The hen pecked a big hole in my grandmother's hand. She was bleeding! Grandma just said, "It's OK. She just protecting her eggs." 


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Touchdown


I think it was my long hair, but I was constantly getting chased by the roosters. I became so terrified of them; I'd have nightmares of them coming after me and would wake up screaming! It was my Grandfather who taught me to stand my ground and kick a flogging rooster. He told me to face the rooster with my whole body and kick in the middle of its chest hard enough to send it backwards but not hard enough to seriously injure it. You stay facing the rooster with your entire body until he backs down and walks away. I was hesitant and doubtful, but soon enough I had the opportunity to try it. It worked! I have not been afraid of a rooster since I was given that knowledge.

Fast forward 40+ years: We met a man who was having issues with a very aggressive rooster. It was constantly chasing him and his neighbors and their pets, and he did not know how to stop it. He was either going to eat the rooster or give it away. He ended up giving two roosters to us. The second one wasn't a problem bird, but he didn't want the first to go alone.

Roosters have three important functions in a flock: protection, reproduction, and food foraging. A good rooster will alert his hens and protect them from predators and will lead them to good food sources. I figured we'd try to keep them since I needed a mature bird to watch over my younger birds. Before their feet ever touched our soil, I removed both roosters' spurs and had a talk with my children.

The first few days, I did all of the poultry chores to see if we were going to have dinner or a winner. It finally happened. I fed the birds and turned to walk away. I felt something hit the back of my bare leg. I turned around but could not tell who had done it. I turned away again and bam! This time, I saw the culprit. It was the aggressive roo. I faced him and waited. I missed him the first two times he flew at me but connected on the third. The kick wasn't very hard. I expected him to challenge me again. He didn't. Looking forward to the football season, I named him "Touchdown." I named the other rooster "Dallas" and my team was winning until the dog killed Dallas. The next game, my team lost to the Redskins! I think the dog is a 'skins fan! :-)

When I "feed up" (as Grandpa called it), if I see Touchdown looking at me at all, I face him with my entire body and tell him, "Don't mess with me!" Sometimes I will stretch my arms out to make myself look bigger. It's not the words but the dominant tone and stance that keeps him from challenging me again.

I have had dozens of roosters here with my older children over the years, so they already knew how to defend themselves. As soon as we acquired the new roosters, I passed down my grandfather's advice to my youngest two. For a long time, the rooster left the girls alone. Then, mid-September, Touchdown ran across three acres to go after Hannah. Hannah forgot what I had told her and ran behind Yid-dee. Emily stepped between the bird and her baby sister and kicked. The rooster ran at her again, so she kicked it again. She faced him until Touchdown ran the other way. Grandpa's advice helped the great grandchildren he never met.


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If you carry an aggressive roo, it tells him you are dominant.
This can also stop the flogging behavior. I don't expect little children to put themselves in harm's way to chase down an aggressive rooster and carry the big bird around. So, I gave mine same advice as I received as a tyke. It was fast, effective, and does not injure the bird.


If it wouldn't have backed down or been quick to learn, the roo would have went to Freezer Camp. But, it seems we have a "winner-winner not a chicken dinner" who is quick to learn! He's doing a good job leading our hens around in search of food. He stands at attention watching the yard and sky while they eat. I feel better knowing he's out there and toss him some corn now and then. He hasn't attacked the little girls since. If they stop and face him, he goes the other way.

In my 40+ years of doing this, it has worked every time except one. After we defend our legs from the roo, we continue to show dominance over it by facing him, walking in his direction until he gives ground, or by speaking to him with a dominant tone. When the rooster is behaving, we throw some grain to him to reinforce good behavior. I think the follow up is part of the reason we have been successful at keeping aggressive roosters alive where others have had to put them down for safety. 

That one rooster was a Dominique. He attacked two year old Amanda and left about deep 20 scratches up and down her small back. He never crowed again.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Winter Jam 2015

Winter Jam 2015

Norfolk Scope Feb 15

Skillet
Jeremy Camp
Francesca Battistelli
Building 429
Family Force 5
Newsong
For King and Country
Blanca
About a Mile
Veridia
Speaker: Tony Nolan

USAF Heritage of America Band

We are checking the calendar and our schedules to see when we can attend their performances. Some of our local friends have discovered the band since we started sharing about their performances several years ago, so we thought we'd share the local performance schedule here. Enjoy! 

Here is their Christmas schedule:
http://www.heritageofamericaband.af.mil/events/

Saturday, Nov 8
Rhythm in Blue Jazz Ensemble at Franklin, VA
Free Community Concert at 7:00 p.m.
Franklin High School
310 Crescent Drive
Franklin, VA 23851

Monday, Nov 10
Rhythm in Blue Jazz Ensemble at Virginia Beach, VA
Free Community Concert at 7:00 p.m.
Princess Anne High School
4400 Virginia Beach Blvd
Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Tuesday, Nov 11

Rhythm in Blue Jazz Ensemble at Locust Hill, VA
Free Community Concert at 7:00 p.m.
St. Clare Walker Middle School
6814 General Puller Hwy
Locust Hill, VA 23092
Thursday, Nov 13
Rhythm in Blue Jazz Ensemble at Suffolk, VA
Free Community Concert at 7:35 p.m.
Swingin' Sounds of Rhythm in Blue
Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts
110 West Finney Avenue
Birdsong Theater, Suffolk, VA 23434
Tuesday, Dec 2
Concert Band at Williamsburg, VA
"Through Children's Eyes" Holiday Concert Series
Free Community Concert at 7:00 p.m.
Jamestown HS
3571 John Tyler Highway
Williamsburg, VA 23185
For Tickets Click Here
Wednesday, Dec 3
Concert Band at Williamsburg, VA
"Through Children's Eyes" Holiday Concert Series
Free Community Concert at 7:00 p.m.
Jamestown HS
3571 John Tyler Highway
Williamsburg, VA 23185
For Tickets click here
Thursday, Dec 4
Concert Band at Norfolk, VA
Holiday Concert Series "Through Children's Eyes"
Free Community Concert at 7:00 p.m.
TCC Roper Performing Arts Center
340 Granby Street
Norfolk, VA 23510

NOTE: Ticket Information will be posted soon
Friday, Dec 5
Concert Band at Norfolk, VA
Holiday Concert Series "Through Children's Eyes"
Free Community Concert at 7:00 p.m.
TCC Roper Performing Arts Center
340 Granby Street
Norfolk, VA 23510

NOTE: Ticket Information will be posted soon


Cutting Up

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The comedians in our family were putting on a show and tickling our funny bone.
When I see the joy and delight Clint takes in our children, I sing praises to the Lord for the gift of our children.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Warm Buns

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There are sixteen bunnies in this nest.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Choose This Over Silver

A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education. Theodore Roosevelt

Proverbs 8:11-21:
Choose discipline over silver and knowledge over the finest gold. Wisdom is better than pearls, and nothing you desire compares with her. “I am Wisdom.  I live with Good Judgment. I am at home with Knowledge and Planning. To respect the Lord means to hate evil. I hate pride and boasting, evil lives and hurtful words. I have good advice and common sense to offer. I have understanding and power. With my help kings rule and governors make good laws. With my help leaders govern, and important officials make good decisions. I love those who love me, and those who look for me will find me. With me there are riches and honor.  I have lasting wealth to give to you. What I give is better than fine gold.  What I produce is better than pure silver. I lead people the right way— along the paths of justice. I give riches to those who love me, and I fill their houses with treasures.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Link for 75 Fun Ways to Learn Spelling Words

75 Fun Ways to Practice and Learn Spelling Words



Piglet

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We paid $50 each for two adult pigs. 
Not even 48 hours later, we unexpectedly had EIGHT more!
Then, we were gifted with another two sows!
Thank you, Lord!



God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it,  He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways  never run out, never wear out. This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.

2 Corinthians 9:8-11 (MSG)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Contrary to What We May Think

Deep down, we cling to the simplistic idea that if we are good, life will go well. Untrue. ~Timothy Keller

"The [wave] that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the surf-rider the super-joy of going clean through it. Apply that to our own circumstances, these very things--tribulation, distress, persecution, produce in us the super-joy; they are not things to fight. We are more than conquerors... super-victors, with a joy we would not have but for the very things which look as if they are going to overwhelm us... The saint knows the joy of the Lord not in spite of tribulation, but because of it." Oswald Chambers

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strangething happened unto you: But rejoice , inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that,when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. I Peter 4:12-13

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12

Prayer Request

A former classmate and friend of mine who is a member of a prominent family in my hometown has been hit very hard with bone cancer. I am asking you to pray for their strength, peace, and for God to send a miracle.

Buddies

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Tyson loves his boy. His boy loves him back.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cooking a Big Meal? Thanksgiving? Lots of Leftovers to Heat?

This three tiered oven rack is a large family idea I love!! It can also be used for holiday baking or family get togethers. I so need this and plan to buy it. I will be able to use it several times a week!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How to Understand Introverts Chart

I can relate to a lot of this article. Introversion isn't an aversion to people. It's needing time alone to recharge before you have more meaningful interaction. I tend to give a lot to others and because of that, interaction can be very draining. I actually enjoy people very much but prefer to know them in a one on one setting than a party or big outing. Getting to really know a person is more important to me than "just spending time" with them. I like deeper conversations instead of small talk. 

Extroverts are like butterflies. They flit from one person to another and the interaction of all of the beautiful flowers recharges them. Introverts are more like a honey bee. They work to gather details and understanding and then try to leave something useful behind with the person. Introverts also tend to be very creative and enjoy self expression through writing, music, and art.

Just because a person recharges in solitude does not mean they do not get out there and meet people and do things. I have worked natural disasters and found it very fulfilling. However, I also had to take time to recharge to keep doing it long term. The pain and anguish of the people stayed with me and were hard to shake. 

One of my closest friends is very extroverted. When we work together we make an awesome team. She reaches many people in small non time consuming ways. I reach fewer people but make a deeper connection with them. We say she spreads the seeds, and I cover them with soil and add fertilizer. She realized she needed to slow down and connect better with people while I needed to limit the depth of the interactions to reach more.

Introverts find it easier to meditate on Scripture and connect with the Lord in prayer because it requires a stillness of the soul extroverts find more difficult to achieve. We thrive with time alone to do an in depth Bible study. Extroverts can find it easier to organize their friends to come together and help others, but they can struggle with self absorption and needing attention. They often like to learn through interacting with others. That can be very beneficial or detrimental depending on the knowledge and wisdom of those they are seeking out for godly counsel. Introverts would do well to couple the Bible study with godly counsel while the extroverts would be better able to judge the counsel they receive if they spent more time meditating Scripture. 

Extroverts and introverts shouldn't envy or reject each other but understand and encourage. Both personalities have a lot to offer and can learn a lot from one another. God has a plan and purpose for each type just as He has a plan and purpose for individual temperaments. We can use our strengths and learn to overcome our weaknesses for His glory.

God's Bounty

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We found not one, but two groves of persimmon trees as we cleared land one weekend. I strongly suspect there will be more as we clear futher back. Once the grove matures the trees should provide food for our family and friends. Since we did not know about the trees, the goats have enjoyed the fruit this year!

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For folklore sake we cut the seeds open. We found spoons.

Psalm 65:11 You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Contemplating

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our field for a new challenge and opportunity.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Carrots for the Pony

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I had a long list of things I needed to do but took time out to ride the girls in the mower cart though the woods. We had to stop to see Hot Shot with some treats.
Maggie likes to ride too.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Life is Not Fair

"You and I both know that life is not fair and that our human logic is a shallow substitute for God’s sovereignty. We are broken people living in a broken world. Bad things do happen to good people while those who mock God seem to prosper, and it’s been that way for a long time. Take Job for example.
The LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.’ ‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied. ‘Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.’ The LORD said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger’ (Job 1:8-12).
Don’t miss the important fact that God not only allowed Satan to test Job, but dictated how Satan could test him. Job went from having vast wealth to great poverty, losing everything he and his wife had, including their ten children. Job’s wife urged her husband to turn away from God, curse Him, and forsake the very faith that had blessed her and Job for so long.
Job stood firm. And so can you!"
Go here to read the rest and find the link to find out how to stand firm. You can also follow them on Facebook.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Miscarriage and Baby Loss Awareness Month

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I was asked to light a candle today for infant loss awareness. I light eight candles: Sarah, Rebecca, Josiah, Angel Noel, Abigail, Benjamin, Mary, and Isaac. Losing each of them crushed my heart and changed me forever, but it also drew me closer to the Lord, gave me understanding to know how to minister to other's broken hearts, made me treasure the beauty of life, cherish things most take for granted, have a rich appreciation for good days, ...and so very much more. It has also taught me about hope, patience, rediscovering joy, and finding the endurance to keep going even when I wanted to give up. While I would rather have them in my arms, I am also thankful for the valuable lessons the Lord taught me through their short lives.

If you have experienced this kind of loss, I am praying for you today. If you need a friend who has been there to listen, contentment acres at yahoo . com (remove spaces) If yahoo gets the mail to me, I respond. Please understand I don't always respond every day or even every week, but I do respond.

I Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thank you to everyone who has shared this post and to those who have said it was helpful to them. My condolences to those who lost babies through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. I have greatly appreciated the male perspective as they have tried to find healing for themselves and help their wives through it. May the Lord Himself sustain and comfort you. 

Article: When the Barista Asked What My Son with Special Needs Has

I have friends with children of medically complicated children who don't fit into any one box. The diagnosis is as complex as their needs are. The parents of these children are often the sweetest, genuine people you will ever meet, because they have walked down a difficult road and learned many of life's lessons quickly. I treasure the special needs children and their parents in my life. Here is the mom of Caden, a special needs child, and the voice she gave him. I haven't met either, but I would certainly enjoy talking to her and Caden. 

"After I listed a bunch of medical terms I’m sure she didn’t understand, I thanked her for asking me. I appreciated the fact that she wanted to know what was wrong with my son. All too often people avoid the topic of Caden or just look at me with those “I feel sorry for you” eyes, or they possibly even turn away." Read more: When the Barista Asked What My Son with Special Needs Has


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

To the Weary Stay at Home Homeschooling Moms of Many

This is what I wish someone had told me:

In a large homeschooling family, there is so much going on in every day.  

The days are long, 
the work is never ending; 
the chaos makes it crazy;
interruptions can be constant; 
the messes are huge, and happen faster than smaller families can imagine; 

but 

the many hands of older children make the work lighter, and 
the good things like LAUGHTER, FUN, JOY, LOVE, CONTENTMENT, PEACE are also multiplied. 

While the workload and craziness diminish as the children grow, the good things continue to increase over the rest of our days. 

My youngest two now are seven and five. My workload is changing. The house doesn't get as messy. Others give me a hand cooking, doing laundry, and running errands too. Most of the time the children can do their school work independently. I have a little time each day to do something I enjoy like gardening. I have survived the hardest years and stand here to tell you: it is worth every single crazy minute. I would not trade my life for anyone else's! I am so thankful God called me to this unique path and rejoice in all He has done through it. 

Hang in their, tired mamas. I know everyone tells you it will pass by faster than you imagine, but you can't see that from where you stand now. It really does go by quickly. It gets easier, if you teach your children to help. Yes, your workload right now is enormous, but you will survive. What you are doing has great value. God is using this journey to mold you and shape you for His purpose. Keep following His Word in your life because He does keep His promises to us. Put Him and His way first in every area because there is wonderful fruit to be harvested in due time.

Father, please give strength to the weary mothers. Please help them renew their commitment to raise children for your glory. Help them to see your perfect plan right in the middle of the chaos of a busy home. Let them hear the Holy Spirit's leading in each interruption. Help them to remain focused on what is important, and help them let go of what isn't. Let them see that your way is good and help them to follow you even when it seems everything and everyone is trying to lead them away. Send them encouragers and cheerleaders when they feel overwhelmed. Make clear your way for their lives, and let them rejoice in what you have done. In Jesus' name, amen. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

I Wonder if He Kept Eating Them After Being Told

Here's a chuckle for those in the know: A friend enjoys providing eggs as a ministry to their external family. His father refused the last dozen saying he didn't want any more eggs from their farm because they came out of chickens' butts. He'd "rather get the ones at the grocery store made at the factory" because he just couldn't "stomach eating anything" that came out of something's butt.

I imagine that was a rude awakening!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Are You Shallow?

From evangelist, local weatherman, and author Jon Cash: "I was reading from Mark chapter four this morning about the parable of the soils. Something really caught my attention. One of the seeds sown was placed in shallow soil. This was a very thin sheet of soil that initially supported the seed as it grew but once the roots tried to take hold, it was all rock and hard ground. The plant could not survive this environment and it quickly died. What does this mean? It stands for a person who hears the Bible, appears to embrace God, but as they "appear" to grow, their worries, fears, and cares of this world take them over and they die. Is this real salvation, real Christianity? I do not think so. So here's the question. Are you shallow? You know what it means and how it feels if somebody calls you shallow! It means you have little substance, maybe even a fake, willing to change and do wrong if the circumstances warrant. Our churches are filled with shallow people who have never taken root in God because their hearts are simply not in it. They only have a thin veneer of humility and desire for the things of God but the core of their foundation and spirit is hardened for the things of God. If you still have breath and still have a heart beating, thank God you still have the chance to change and repent. God is the God of second chances...but He will not be mocked by shallow religious people who do not think they need help."

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Quick, Cheap, Effective Outdoor Sink

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It needs to be painted and the sink needs to be scrubbed, but you get the idea. We just pull a water hose over to it.

Clint and I have been recycling pallets to build things from them for over twenty years. One year, we recycled over a ton of pallets...in one year! Clint has a goal of building a shed from pallets.

While not our fanciest or best looking project, this is a perfect minimum input for maximum output solution for our outdoor sink needs. I don't wash animal things in the house, so this sink will receive a lot of use. We added a shelf on the bottom rungs of the pallets since I took the picture. I can catch the water with a 5 gallon bucket to carry to the garden to water plants. One pallet plus two boards off of a pallet from the "grow through" frames plus 15 minutes equals a very useful tool for the farm. The salt treated plywood shelf we added was leftover from another project. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Happy Birthday, Amanda!

Amanda, you are an incredible young woman with amazing strengths and talents! I often stand in awe of who you are and what you are able to do! You have excelled at nearly everything you have tried. From academics to sports to cooking to sewing to food preservation to construction to horsemanship to cosmetology to business management to auto mechanics to wrangling livestock to pet grooming to art...to whatever you do, you do well. 

You are fearless and adventurous! You tackle whatever is in your path boldly and confidently. If you know something is the right thing to do, even if it is very difficult, you do not run from doing it. You have a backbone and a voice. You have boldness. Proverbs 28:1b ...the righteous are bold as a lion. God uses bold people in great ways. Once you are certain of the direction God is leading, don't let anything or anyone hold you back. 

God gave you two extraordinary testimonies of how He answers prayer and looks after His people very early in your life through sleepwalking. He wants you to use that in whatever way you can whenever you can for His glory. Your story is unique, and you have something to say for Him.

You have been a comfort to me through my miscarriages and still births. When the facts were hard and the pain of the losses swept over me, you didn't run. You stood beside me and offered your love and companionship. You have great compassion and strength.

I was so afraid to have a daughter thinking the past would repeat itself. Your father will tell you of how I ran with that fear to the Lord and begged Him to show me how to do things differently. I did not deceive myself by thinking I could do better; I knew I was too weak. I knew where to go for Help. God took ashes and brought beauty. He took an old story and a willing heart and made something new! I am so thankful to have you and your sisters! I am no longer afraid of the past repeating itself but rejoice gladly and thankfully in what God has done! It is stunning and far better than I imagined! I would not have wanted to miss out on knowing you or having this wonderful relationship!

This world has a strong pull, offers many distractions, and makes many empty promises wrapped in pretty packages. I am asking you to ignore all of those, and go after God's best for you. The way to His best for Amanda is found in His Word. Run to Him when this world tosses you around, when others let you down, or when you disappoint yourself. Find your safety and rest under His wing. Seek His leading, and don't compromise. When the battle is fierce and you are weary, remember the Ephesians warrior..."when you have done all you can do, stand, stand therefore." Where there is nothing more you can do, stand waiting. He will fight the battle for you. 


Use every bit of the unique story He is writing in your life for His glory. He has amazing plans for you!

Dad and I love you very, very much! Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!


Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.")  No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39