Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Krzysztof, Christov, Chris

We have enjoyed meeting and spending time with Chris. He is a very polite and respectful young man with a quiet demeanor and good manners. He does Poland and his family proud by how well he represents them.

Chris only has one sibling, so I was concerned about how he would handle himself with the cheerful controlled chaos of our large family. However, Chris blends right in with our happy gang. He has managed his own with many "instant siblings!"

Every member of our family loves Chris! We'd happily keep him, but it would break his mother's heart.

And, Chris, if you are reading this after you get home on the 24th, we still want to know the story of the pretty girl in the lobby that Brandon shut you down from telling. Spill the beans. Email is in the header. :-) 

And Chris, come back to see us soon!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Celebrating in Heaven

Today is my mother in law's birthday. She ran away with Jesus in 2007. I am very grateful to her for raising such a fine man as Clint. 

Clint leads our whole family in giving the Lord thanks for his mother this afternoon. 

No relationship on this earth is perfect no matter how much we try to deceive ourselves. Once we are in the presence of Jesus, ALL things will be made whole and new. That's the joy we are looking forward to when we are reunited with Midge. 

Today, Clint leads our whole family in giving the Lord thanks for his mother. 

Happy Birthday in Heaven, Midge!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Three Graduations

Our three "middles" have graduated high school!

In the last several months, we have had Joshua (17), Caleb (16), and Bethany (14) graduate from high school. 

Bethany timed hers perfectly so she would graduate on Clint's birthday which made for a nice surprise birthday present for him. 

The boys decided they wanted to wait for Bethany to finish so they could have a graduation party together. We are planning that now.

Joshua started on his journey to become a lawyer. Caleb is working towards a degree in construction. Bethany will start college in the fall to earn a degree in criminal justice. 

I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. 

I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. 
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.   
Psalm 16:7-11

Thursday, June 14, 2018

God Honoring Choices Open the Door to His Blessings

This spring has been an extremely busy time with an abundance of blessings! 

Around 12 years ago, Brandon was playing an online game when things became nasty between two groups. Brandon and one other player, named Christov, refused to join in and maintained their standards of conduct. Because of that, they became good friends. 

Over the years, they shared the similarities and differences of their countries, cultures, families, and supported each other through high school, girls, college, adulthood, and careers. 

Christov's family is also Christian and has many of the same interests as ours. 

Last year, Brandon spend two weeks visiting Christov, meeting his family, and visiting just about every spot in Poland including Auschwitz and about a dozen beautiful castles. 

On June 8th, Christov began his exploration of our part of the United States from NYC to PA to VA to OBX. While he is in the US, Clint and I will look after him as if he is our own child. 

Our family looks forward to his visit and hope we can welcome him in a manner that honors the Lord and our beautiful country. Since they do not have them there, Brandon has asked us to make him tacos. We will make those and several other American dishes. 

I love how the Lord rewarded two young boys for honoring Him with their choice in behavior with a lasting friendship that turned to international travels! I hope they are able to take many more journeys together.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Great Customer Service!

We have a very special guest coming to Contentment Acres. I wanted to find a Virginia made pewter state shaped ornament for Chrisov to take home to Poland. The only place I could find what I liked was at the American Civil War Museum. The ornament there has our state bird and flower on it too. I asked them to ship it asap since it is for our international guest. They kindly shipped it quickly AND sent a second ornament free for my family to enjoy! How nice!! Now our family will have a reminder of Chris's visit too!

Saturday, June 09, 2018

New Home Owner


Amanda, 23, found a house she loved and closed on it last week! 

She found the house hours after it was posted one night while she was on break at work. She contacted me through text, asked me how I liked it, and had me pull all of the property data off of the county website for her.

She now has a four bedroom two bath brick home with a master suite wing. 

She saved $10,000 by working 12 hour days during 60 and 72 hour weeks.

She had to make repairs to the house out of her own pocket in order to satisfy the mortgage lender. It needed the septic tank pumped and well water tested (twice). She had to have it sprayed for powder beetles and have a vapor barrier installed which Joshua and Caleb did for her. She also had to do a little sheetrock work which she did herself. 

She purchased a house that was $70,000 below the current market value. Her current plan is to live in it and improve some things. After five years, she plans to sell it at full value.

We are very proud of her for working so hard and reaching such a big milestone so early! If there's a will, there is a way!

Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Shelling Butter Beans and Peas (Work along side of your children)

When I was a child, we grew a garden a few years, and my grandmother gave us produce for many years. 

During the summer, when I was about 9-10,  I had to sit in the kitchen alone, in a hard chair, staring at the sink, no TV, no radio, no company, and was threatened time and time again not to make a mess. It was oppressive, and I felt like I was being punished.

I HATED it! 

I told my best friend at the time. She did it along side of her mom, and they watched TV together. She felt sorry for me and told me to throw some good ones in with the hulls to get finished earlier. I thought that was a great idea! 

Yep, I got caught and received a harsh scolding, a whipping with the belt, and a shunning for hours. "Stay out of my sight! I don't want to lay eyes on you!" 

Then I was reminded of my transgression every time we were given more produce.

However, I was never forced to do it again, so.. 


More importantly, I learned from that experience! I learned to...

to work alongside of my children, 

have them all work together regardless of ages (even a two year old can pick things up and put things away) 

to make it fun not oppressive

and to give praise and encouragement. 

My children and I get a little messy throwing veggie scraps at each other and take a little longer than necessary because we might dance with songs on the radio, but we laugh and make happy memories that bond us closer. 

Proverbs 14:1 The wise woman builds her house...

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Review of the movie Show Dogs

Review of the movie Show Dogs

"Frank, along with a former show champion work to get him ready for the final round of the competition.  Since the inspection of the private parts will happen in the finals, Frank touches Max’s private parts to get him use to it.  Of course, Max doesn’t like it and snaps at Frank for him to stop.  Max is then told by the former champion, who has been through the process before, that he needs to go to his “zen place” while it happens so he can get through it.  More attempts are made by Frank to touch Max’s private parts, but Max is still having trouble letting it happen and keeps snapping at him.

The day of the finals come and if Max doesn’t let his private parts be touched, he may lose the competition and any hope of finding the kidnapped panda.  It all rests on his ability to let someone touch his private parts.  The judge’s hands slowly reach behind Max and he goes to his “zen place”.  He’s flying through the sky, dancing with his partner, there are fireworks and flowers-everything is great-all while someone is touching his private parts.
During the movie, I kept thinking, “This is wrong, it doesn’t need to be in a kids movie. Everything else in the movie is good fun except for this.” 
Read the rest of this review here.
This is not a movie our family was going to watch, but I am thankful to the reviewer for making us aware of this issue. The author handled the issue just like I would bringing the topic out into the open and discussing it with her children. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Economical Calcium HypochloritePool Chlorine

I love playing in our 23,000 gallon pool with my family, but I do not like paying full price for the chemicals. This is the best price I have seen chlorine for pools (my affiliate link). If you have a more economical source, please share. Email address in the header of this page.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day 2018

Happy Mother's Day to everyone with a loving mother's heart no matter if you have many children or none. This includes those who conceived and lost, those whose child grew and left for Heaven, teachers and social workers who see the hurting child and respond, and fathers who step up to fill both roles. I hope you know your love and concern matters in a child's life, and you are worth your weight in gold!

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

A Better Look at the Cooking Set Up



I was asked for a better picture of the set up I am using for outdoor cooking at a place we have that currently does not have power. In the top image, you can see how the bricks are placed on the wood stove I am using to make it easier on my back. 

The pieces of wood you see on and in between the bricks are in the process of drying out from the heat of the fire after a rain we had. This helps them catch fire quicker and helps eliminate some of the smoke the moisture creates. Bath water is heating in the picture.

I pass a stick through the bricks to poke holes in the ash to help the flow of oxygen. This helps it burn better. 

I am very pleased with my set up. I have made a big pots of soup, rice meals, eggs, toast, pancakes, sausage, ham, etc. It works better for me than any other set up I have used in over 40 years of camping. 

Monday, May 07, 2018

Caleb Surgery #3


Caleb had to have an appendectomy a few years ago. Then, his "permanent" orthodontics appliance broke off while he was eating and was accidentally swallowed. This necessitated an emergency surgery. Then, much to his dismay, he had an inguinal hernia that needed to be repaired a couple of weeks ago. He's back on his feet and on light duty until the middle of May, but he's doing good!

Thursday, May 03, 2018

On a Roof


When I was a toddler, I walked through framed walls, carried hammers and tape measures, and played with chalk lines. I played with the chalk lines so much I got in trouble for it, but that's a story for another day. My daddy would set nails in a scrap board and let me beat them in with the hammer. 

When I was 3-4 years old, he carried me up a ladder, sat me on a roof, and told me "You sit right there, and do not move. I'll be right back." He went down the ladder and carried up bundles of shingles on his back and I watched him shingle a roof that day. I even got to help snap that wonderful chalk line! When I was 9, he taught me to read a tape measure down to a 1/32 of an inch. 

When I was 10, I volunteered to help a teacher fix a curtain bracket that needed a nail hammered only to have a male classmate (who worked with his dad on houses) yell, "Wendy, you don't know how to swing a hammer!" Then I showed that classmate with the rhythm I had learned beside my daddy! I still smile about the look on his face! When I was 14, I loved the smell of lumber and realized my father made people's dreams come true because he built their custom homes. 

When I was 16, I started dating a guy he later put to work part time with him. Clint picked up things from him he still uses today. 

Little by little, Clint and I have handed all of those experiences to our own children. 

Emily and Hannah enjoyed their time on a roof with Clint last week!

Monday, April 30, 2018

My Outdoor Cooktop

This is a bit messy, but I was in a hurry to heat water to do some cleaning. I heated the water because it was COLD and WINDY that day.

There was no power or running water the first several nights we stayed, so I heated water for cleaning and bathing on top of a cast iron wood stove we removed from the house. This was a very effective little "stove top," and I kept the gang filled with hearty meals with it. I cleaned up quite a bit of the yard as I used the twigs, pine cones, and magnolia cones too. I shifted the top bricks to fit the size of the pan or pot I was using.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Man Amazes Me


You can't see it in the picture, but this remaining tree section was damaged when the others fell. It had a strong lean towards the house. Clint wanted to take it down ahead of another storm with 40+ mph wind gusts.


Clint used strong tow straps tied off to another tree. This isn't to hold the tree up. It's to give enough resistance to help create a turn in the tree's descent which is exactly what it did.


He told me it would fall between the house and the other cedar tree. That's exactly where it fell. He has done this time and time again! It always amazes me!


We prayed before he started cutting and gave thanks afterwards.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Not too fond of cedar trees at the moment...





I had already pointed out these trees to Clint as dangerous and needing to be cut down, but I did not expect them fall within less than 48 hours! Caleb, Bethany, Emily, Hannah, and I were staying in a house with no power or running water. Joshua had an interview and Clint had to work so they did not stay. Clint ended up coming back around 4:30 a.m. after I told him straight line winds at the tail end of a thunderstorm dropped the trees in the front yard. This was not a fun experience. I'd rather see another black snake coming out of the cedars. We are cutting down the remaining trees that threaten the house. Cedars are beautiful trees with a lot of usefulness, but they are dangerous when too close to a house.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

So Much Going On!

There is so much going on in our family, and it is keeping all of us very busy. 

It's all good, but I can't share just yet. 

I will share a little bit of it with some pictures soon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


This starts next week, and I am trying to head off misunderstandings with this post. During frequent intervals this spring and summer, our family will be in an area that does not get the best cell signal. Sometimes it works great, and other times it's spotty. Because of that, if you want to get in touch with one of us, you may need to text/call several times or wait a couple of days.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Cutting Grocery Costs

I was asked about how I save money on groceries again. Here's my response:

This is a little different than what you asked, but it goes with cutting back on a grocery budget. I am a mom of seven with children who range in age from 25 to 9. I collected a lot of these tips from older women who generously shared their wisdom with me when I was a young mother. I took what I could use at the time and tried to remember the rest in case I could use it later. Think of buying groceries as buying nutrition instead of food. Eating healthier leads to less cravings because the body is getting what it needs. I feed my family of nine for much, much less, and we rarely ever get sick because our immune systems are well nourished. I keep a price book, watch sales fliers, buy what is on sale in large quantities, keep our pantry well stocked, and make our menu from what we have on hand instead of making the menu and then buying ingredients which probably aren't on sale at the time. Grow what you can. Even a window garden can grow mesclun and herbs. Preserve what you can. I bought 100+ pineapples this winter for 25 cents each and 300 pounds of chicken on sale for 29 cents a pound and pressure canned it. I made jelly from our grapes. I freeze lasagnas and casseroles and also pressure can soups, beef stew, etc for "fast food." I pressure can dry beans because it's so much cheaper and lets me have the ready to use convenience too. I dehydrate herbs, meat, and fruit. I keep boiled eggs in the fridge for high protein snacks. They gobble them up about as fast as I can peel them. Don't be too rigid. I buy my children pizzas from Aldis or Sams and sodas from Walmart once a week. It hasn't affected their health a bit, and they look forward to it. Find a happy, healthy balance. Make it a fun challenge to save money on your groceries. I love it when I find a deal! When I bought landscaping for our home, I chose to invest my money in fruit trees, berry and fig bushes, passion fruit vines, and grapevines over ornamentals. These give me something usable back for my money and time caring for them. I invested in perennial garden plants that will give me years of harvests like strawberries, asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish, etc. It takes a few years to get some of these things going, but it all adds up..even those pennies you don't think matter. You'll save more and more as you implement more. I took the savings at first and built up my pantry. Now, I take my grocery savings and put them in an investment account.

Friday, March 02, 2018

The Best is Yet to Come

Have you ever been on the edge of something really good happening, and then it gets delayed? The extra wait is excruciating!

My family has a very good thing about to happen. We were told March 9 was our day! Then, things fell into place sooner, and we were told March 2 could be our day!! Yay!! Then, some paperwork was lost, and we were told we'd have to wait at least through the weekend. Bummer!

Through all of the excitement and ups and downs, we have enjoyed the ride knowing that in the end, it will be worth the present hassle.

That has made me think about life and eternity. 

This life can throw sudden throat punches that leave us working hard to resume breathing. People judging you harshly and unfairly for situations they don't understand, pain, disappointment, sorrow, betrayal, rejection, abandonment, deep grief, and failure aren't things we wish for, but they are all part of the journey. Thank God the story does not end there! We will one day trade all of those in for rejoicing and reward!

May we embrace this ride and remember that in the end, it will be so very worth it! May we have excitement and anticipation for the day we stand before the One who no longer remembers our sins and loves us perfectly! May we love and encourage each other in this journey!

Colossians 3:1-7  You were raised from death with Christ. So live for what is in heaven, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.  Think only about what is up there, not what is here on earth.  Your old self has died, and your new life is kept with Christ in God.  Yes, Christ is now your life, and when he comes again, you will share in his glory. So put everything evil out of your life: sexual sin, doing anything immoral, letting sinful thoughts control you, and wanting things that are wrong. And don’t keep wanting more and more for yourself, which is the same as worshiping a false god. God will show his anger against those who don’t obey him, because they do these evil things. You also did these things in the past, when you lived like them.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Home Security


We've had a reminder to be vigilant about home security recently. It is nothing I can openly discuss at the moment, but our lives were in danger. We live in a very quiet rural neighborhood, and our home is way off the road. We have a locked gate at the end of our driveway. We were reminded that evil lurks everywhere. 

To ensure I can protect my family while Clint is working, I spent some time target practicing this week. I put 8 of my first 10 bullets fired in over a year exactly where I wanted them. Four went into the top of the head. Then I gave it an earring. The rest of the good shots went into the chest. I was off on two of the first ten. 

I am thankful for the natural ability I seem to have inherited from my father who was an expert marksman in the military. I've never "enjoyed" shooting, but I still fired the gun a few times a year. I now have a good reason to continue.

I am thankful for God keeping us unharmed and for alerting us to the issue in a way that got our attention. 

If you live in the neighborhood, you should take precautions with your home and vehicles. Use motion detecting lights around your perimeter. This was a key element for us. Add cameras if you do not have them. Be very careful being outside at night. Do NOT expose yourself or confront anyone. This person(s) is armed. Know what your legal rights are to defend your home and family and prepare yourself physically and mentally to use them.

Report any suspicious people or groups of people standing around in the road as they may be studying and taking pictures of your home. Report any suspicious activity. If they aren't doing anything, no harm, no foul. If they are up to something, they will know someone is alert which makes all of our homes safer.

If you live in our neighborhood, free to contact us for more information. (FYI: My phone is currently being repaired from now until March 1.)

 Luke 11:21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed.

Friday, February 09, 2018

The Outings Change

It use to be we took our children to the library or on educational outings. These days, we are talking to human resources of potential future employers about what degrees and experience they like to see. We are also talking to realtors.

We have been spending time with Amanda, 23, as she hunts for a house to purchase. She has enough money saved and the income to purchase one, but she has not found one she likes yet. So, we'll keep looking! 

She said her goal is to find something in the next year. I am savoring the moments left of having her live at home as I reflect on how the time spent together changes as children grow. 

Hug your babies close. Time passes much quicker than you think!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Last Time My Grandmother Drove

This is one of the family stories I have written down for my children:

My paternal grandmother, Elsie Harrell Bailey, had something really bad happen to her weather-wise when she was a little girl that made her very afraid of thunderstorms. 

One time while spending the night with her, I can distinctly remember a storm blowing up and moving across Bailey Creek in Chesapeake. I was about eight, and storms didn't bother me too much. 

It thundered. It was one of those deep rumbling thunders that are loud, shake the house, and last a while. My grandmother turned and looked at me. She was really short, so we were eye to eye. Her eyes grew big and wide, and she said, "Woo, woo! Wooooo! Woo!" I thought she was being silly, so like the child I was, I laughed! She looked and sounded so much like an owl! (I still smile and think of her when I hear an owl.)

I relayed the story to my parents later and learned of grandma's fear which made me feel bad for laughing at her. I also learned of the following story which explained why I never, ever saw my grandmother behind the wheel of anything.
My grandfather, Rollis Ivans Bailey, worked very hard to provide for his precious "Buttercup" and their four children. It was a proud day when he bought them a brand new car! Shortly after the purchase, and I was told it was very soon after, my grandmother needed to go somewhere with my father who was a small boy. 

As they were driving, a thunderstorm developed. In the midst of it, a loud crack of thunder sounded. It scared my grandmother so badly, 

she drove straight into a tree!

Thankfully, she and my father were fine. However, the shiny, brand new car was totaled. I guess they didn't have mandatory liability in the 40's because I was told Grandpa still had to pay off the car. 

Grandma never, ever drove again.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Thankful, but Not My Favorite Thing to Do


I'm doing something today, and probably tomorrow too, for which I am thankful to be able to do, but that I do not like doing.

I purchased beef in bulk for the savings as a way to stretch our grocery budget. I've been doing this for years. I'm cutting up steaks, roasts, stir fry slices, etc.

Every bit of it, even the fat (tallow) and the blood (fertilizer) gets used.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Joshua's Next Step


As Joshua started talking, I knew this was going to be a moment to remember, so I grabbed my camera and took this picture.

Joshua graduated from high school a while ago. He's been in prayer about what God would have him to do. Over the weekend, he felt God was showing him the next step. 

He went to Brandon over the weekend and ran it by him to see if he had any advice or saw problems before presenting it to Clint and I. When he presented it to Clint and I, he asked us if we saw anything he was missing and if we had any advice for him.

Joshua is now enrolled in college to start on his journey to become a lawyer. 

We are very proud of our son for seeking and waiting on the Lord for direction. 

May Joshua's next step be his best step yet!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

George the Snowman 2018 and Friends

Our children had a lot of fun making these last week once it was warm enough to go outside and play in the snow.


George 2018
We keep part of his head in the freezer year to year. He's over 20 years old.






Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Caleb in Recovery

Caleb in recovery after his surgery on Jan 10.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Urgent Prayers Needed for Chloe and Her Family

I am doing this the fast way so I can get back to work taking care of my family. This little girl needs your prayers and I have a lot of very strong prayer warriors who follow the blog. Please lift Chloe and her family up. Details and a video are here. If you follow the link to her parent's page, you will be able to watch for updates there.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Prayers Please: Caleb

Caleb's orthodontics appliance broke off while he was eating today. He swallowed it. It has two sharp metal pieces that attach it to his teeth. 

The ER doctor gave him an x-ray that shows it is still in his stomach. The sharp edges are a problem, and Caleb needs it removed as soon as possible. Endoscopy is possible, but the doctor at this hospital will not do it on anyone under 18. So, we have to get the permissions and take Caleb to a children's hospital about an hour away. 

We need prayer that the appliance will stay in his stomach. 

I went to the hospital in Williamsburg, but I had to call Brandon to come get me. I am sick and could not stay.

I will update below as we learn more. 

Update 11:00 PM: I just got off the phone with Clint. The CHKD doctors see things differently than the ER doctor. They do not want to remove the appliance. They feel it is safer to let it pass than to try to remove it. The intestines will create a very thick substance to coat it. Even with the sharp edges, it should not be a problem. We live too far away for him to be sent home to wait it out. So, they have admitted him and will x-ray him again in the morning. If it has not moved, they will do the removal or help it along. If it has moved, he will stay until it gets into his large intestines where it is less likely to cause problems. Once it starts moving, they will x-ray him frequently to make sure there is no bleeding. If it gets stuck, there is a lot they can do to help it along. Clint and Caleb are going to walk around the hospital to try to get things moving along. Amanda and Joshua are en-route now to take blankets, electronics, toiletries, etc to keep them more comfortable. Thank you for the prayers. Please keep them coming.

Update 1/10/2018 3:46 p.m.: I apologize for not updating this sooner. I am very tired and feeling under the weather. This morning, an x-ray showed the device had not moved, so they decided to to the endoscopy surgery. Caleb was under general anesthesia and the procedure was over in a few minutes. Between the time they gave him the x-ray and did the procedure, it had traveled right to the opening of his small intestine. We think the pre-op "relaxation shot" relaxed Caleb's insides allowing it to move. The GI surgeon was able to grab it out of the opening of his small intestines with no problems. There was no major damage to his insides. He woke up from surgery, had to eat and keep food down, and was released. The hospital worked with them to get them out before rush hour due to how far away we live. Caleb is happy to have it behind him. Clint and Caleb are on their way home as I type this. Thank you for the calls, texts, emails, comments on Facebook, etc. We appreciate the prayers, the love, and the concern. The next step is to find out what happened and how to prevent it from happening to others. We have to get his ortho to replace the piece, but we will ask for a different style if possible. When Caleb had issues breathing, it was very frightening to all of us. 

Gift Idea for a Man Who Likes Tools

I bought Clint the Ken Onion Edition Work Sharp for his Christmas. He loves it! It makes sharpening different types of tools much faster. He fixed a dinged up chef's knife for me tonight. It sharpens scissors, knives, machetes, axes, lawn mower blades, serrated knives, brush cutter blades, etc.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Heads Up to Clothing Makers

I am not going to buy clothing which has odor "technology" in the form of chemical sprays. I do not want "harmless" chemicals "that wash out after a few uses" on my clothing or in my water supply. 

One thing we the public have learned repeatedly is that what is called "harmless" today ends up being the "poison" of tomorrow. 

No, thank you.