We are a Christian homeschooling family of 9 sharing experiences on our 14 acre farm in rural Virginia. Blog entries could feature anything going on in our lives: our walk with Christ, triumphs and struggles, homeschool, family life, helpful hints, tips for large family living, rural living, herbal medicine, etc. If you enjoyed your visit, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
With how busy our household has been this year, this is how I often find them. My missing shoes had been put in a wrong room.
Mom is missing her black vans. Please check your car and your room.
Return. Thank you. I love you, Mom
Excuse the crooked picture. I got ready to retake it, but decided it was perfect to share this point:
Decades ago, I stopped making perfection a goal. Perfection is never satisfied. It's unobtainable. It wears us out. It frustrates us. It makes us feel like failures. It makes us judge ourselves so harshly. Seeking perfection leads to dEsPeRaTiOn because we realize we will never get there. There's always something else that could have helped us reach higher. Perfection competes with others and is often discouraging to them. Perfection promotes self and is wrapped in pride. When we expect perfection from ourselves, it trickles over to our expectations of those around us. Perfection is a very heavy burden.
Better is obtainable. There's opportunity to rejoice in even the smallest bit of progress. There's a freedom and rest in trying to be better that you can't find in perfection. Better lets us start over when we slide too far backwards from the goal. Better gives us hope and can point others to Jesus. Better encourages us and others to keep trying. When we expect better instead of perfection, we don't set unrealistic goals for ourselves or those in our lives. There's room for us to show ourselves and others gentle, beautiful, refreshing grace.
11/24/2018 7:03 a.m. This is a friend's son in law, Tyler. He is in ICU in critical condition. He has a wife, a two year old daughter, and a newborn daughter. He is 21 years old. This family has been through a lot and is so very beautiful. Please ask God to spare his life and heal his body. Please do not drive distracted. Keep your eyes and mind on the road 100% of the time while you are driving. I will update as I learn more. I included the images to show the seriousness of the prayer need, but I will remove them after a couple of days out of respect and concern for the family.
Click here for the story that was on their local news.
From his family 11/24/2018 5 p.m. "Update on Tyler: He has bleeding and swelling on the brain. He is still on the vent and will be for a few more days, then they will put a trach in. They do not know if or when he will get better and wake up. They are not sure if he will have permanent brain damage, it is a wait and see. He has multiple fractures in face, ribs, collar bones, sternum, leg, feet and ankles. They started him on a feeding tube this morning. He does respond to pain some, but no other responses at this time. Please continue to pray. Thanks to everyone for the calls, texts, prayers, I will try to update when I can. We just have so much going on right now, it may take a while. Also, thank you to everyone who has visited." From his family 11/25/2018 12:36 a.m.: "To watch your child falling apart and not have the words to comfort her is a pain I don't wish on anyone. Please continue to pray for Tyler, Maddie and the girls. My baby is just 18 and has already been through so much. Now her life is forever changed."
From his family 11/25/2018 8 a.m.: They turned down the vent some, and he started breathing on his own. Please keep interceding. 11/26/2018: Maddie is with Tyler around the clock. She had to make a hard decision to leave her two month old baby with her mother which means she had to wean the baby from breast to bottle. Her grandmother is asking people to be understanding of her decisions as she tries to be both a wife and a mother. While she has been with Tyler, "he has not gotten any worse and maybe even a tad bit better. It seems to be just what the doctor ordered." 11/27/2018: From his MIL, Amy, "Praising God this morning. I heard from Maddie and it blesses my heart to see the joy she had this morning. She said that Tyler started responding to her through the night. He was able to follow commands that she asked him to do and respond to her. This is wonderful news and we need to praise God for this. Hopefully he is the beginning of an uphill slope and he will only wake up and get better from here. ❤️❤️ We just need to continue to pray around the clock." 11/28/2017: From Amy: "Just a quick note, I love you all and if you need me you can PM me. Life is busy right now and my days are spent praying for Tyler, changing diapers and feeding babies, washing bottles and trying to do what Maddie needs, still have a relationship with my Husband, see my boys and keep my house in working order. Its like having twins around here but I am so grateful that I can be present today and that my Daughter can trust me to watch her children. I'm so grateful for my sobriety. I'm so grateful for this time with these babies though I wish it were under different circumstances. Please continue to pray for Tyler and for my Maddie. Have a great Christmas Friends and PM me if you need me." Please keep Tyler and his entire family in prayer. 4 p.m. From Amy:"Tyler had another surgery on his leg today. At this point he has a rod in one leg and a plate in the other. Let's pray for no infection. If he doesn't get an infection, he should be done with orthopedic surgeries." 11/29/2018 12:39 p.m: "I post this update with tears of Joy running down my face. Tyler is off the vent!!!! Thank you God for your blessing. No more breathing tube, just oxygen. This is a miracle Brothers and sister's. Please keep flooding the gates of Heaven with your prayers. ❤️❤️💙💙 Maddie has asked for prayers that Tyler stay awake longer and that he is "himself" when he wakes up." 11/30/2018:This is from Tyler's wife: "It's been a long week, and we still have a long road ahead of us, but you don't know how badly you miss someone you loves voice in just a week. He is now a little more cognitive, he is scoring a 14 on the glasgow coma scale (it only goes up to 15) and passed the swallow study today so he can have food and water now. He's still a confused, but getting there. He no longer needs ICU care and will be moved to the progressive unit, then the next step will be rehab for occupational, speech and physical therapy." 12/1/2018: With two bandaged legs and a cervical collar, Tyler was up walking with a walker and two physical therapists this morning. He is moving forward! Our family is rejoicing with theirs! 12/2/2018 7 a.m.:Tyler is still confused but physically doing oh so much better. Hopefully the feeding tube will be pulled in the next few days after we know he's eating enough. He's currently on no IV fluids and no food or medicine is going into the tube. Everything is oral now thank God. We also have to figure out when we're going to get his jaw wired so he can go to (rehab). 12/5/2018:I apologize for not updating. I had to leave for another city immediately on the 3rd and just got home today. Tyler was suppose to have his jaw wired shut, but the damage to his mandible is too severe. They are going to operate and put in a plate. There is some concern that his jaw will shift as it heals affecting his bite, but they can adjust the plate with another procedure. After this is done, he will be able to eat and speak easier. He will also be able to go to rehab. 12/6/2018: Tyler remembered his newborn daughter today. He is still confused and does not remember things for long, but he is steadily improving. His family is giving God the glory for his miraculous healing. He still is waiting for his jaw to be repaired before he can go to rehab.
12/9/2018: Tyler was moved to rehab on the 8th. He still has the feeding tube in place because he is so sore from the broken jaw and the plate surgery that he is still having a lot of pain when eating and drinking. He has lost a lot of weight. At the rehab facility, he met with his assigned occupational, physical, and speech therapists. He was able to go to the gym at the rehab via wheelchair, and he enjoyed the trip. Maddie says the big prayer concerns right now are: that he can eat and have the tube removed, that he can stand up without his bp dropping so low, working on his therapies so he can get back to himself physically and mentally. He is having an issue remembering people, etc. Please also pray for Maddie's strength. Amy needs prayer as she takes care of her children and her grandchildren. Scroll down for the pre-scheduled blog posts. I keep bumping this post up the blog so prayer warriors checking for updates on Tyler can find it easily. Some people are checking the blog six to seven times a day hoping for more news.
A friend of mine asked me how I had kept the relationship with my children so close. I said, "With God's help, I work on the tapestry." Relationships are a lot like large tapestries that receive a lot of use. Tapestries are large, beautiful works of art. They don't just happen, but they are crafted by hand little by little by someone paying attention to the details as they keep the overall design in mind. You might not like every place on the tapestry when you are looking very closely, but if you stand back at a distance, it can be very beautiful to behold! With time, parts of tapestries can become worn. When we see the worn spot, we need to make haste to mend it so it can stay beautiful. It's like having a hole in the knee of a frequently worn, favorite pair jeans. That hole will grow quickly unless it is repaired promptly. Tapestries can only be fixed with interaction. If we abandon the tapestry because of the worn spots, it will continue to decay.
Relationships are also like ropes. They get frayed over the years. Tie the individual strings as you go, and the rope will continue to hold. Re-tying strings requires interaction and commitment. Have you ever seen an abandoned rope? It sits on the ground where it gets tangled and dirty. It decays from the weather until no one wants to touch it. With enough time and weather, it sinks into the ground until no one can tell it is there. Then it requires great effort to pull the rope from the soil. Expecting not to have problems in any relationship is naive. Flawed people interact in flawed ways and build flawed relationships. Flawed relationships are designed to keep us seeking the Lord for help. Understanding other's brokenness, as well as our own, leads us to walk circumspectly* in our relationships knowing problems will arise.
*in a careful manner taking into consideration all circumstances with a desire to avoid mistakes and negative consequences
It will be a sad day for the church and the world when there is no distinction between the children of God and those of this world. -Charles Spurgeon It is a sad day, indeed. If you can't see it, then I encourage you to start studying God's Word with a new eye and give an honest look to what is going on in our churches. Lord, come quickly!
Caleb also makes wooden and metal rings. He needed a way to accurately size the wooden rings he makes, so he purchased himself a jeweler's mandrel set. He really just needed the mandrel (tapered piece), but the rubber jeweler's hammer and sizing rings came with it. He brought the set to me so I could see and learn about it.
Bethany became sick after being exposed to a cold virus at a theme park. Elderberry tincture, garlic, vitamin C, cutting out all sugar except citrus fruits, lots of fluids, and rest knocked the worst of it out of her in 18 hours. She resumed normal activity with almost normal energy levels at that point. She had a little congestion for a few days afterwards but did not come down with any secondary infections. We normally see very quick turnarounds with illnesses in our family. A low sugar diet, attention to nutrition, and knowing what helps our immune system are key. I have even been able to greatly minimize my periods of illness with Epstein Barr Virus. Where I use to have a heavy viral load for months, I can now cut it down to days with prompt attention. There's been emergency rhinoplasty, appendectomy, and hernia repair surgeries, but it's been well over two decades since any of us has visited a doctor or had a prescription for common illnesses like ear and sinus infections, bronchitis, pink eye, etc. When someone starts showing symptoms in our family, I start treating all of us immediately. I do mean immediately too. I send text messages like air raid warnings to whomever is out and tell them to start the protocol because germs have invaded the family. At the start of an illness, I like to use herbs that work as antivirals, antifungals, and antibiotics. Then I will get more specific as the illness shows more of itself. For example, sinus infections are usually fungal and are wiped out quickly by ingesting minced raw garlic frequently or saline sinus rinses with a few drops of tea tree oil. Practicing alternative medicine saves us a great deal of money each year. If you are a young mother, I encourage you to learn what you can do to keep your family healthier and minimize trips to the doctor. Keep a journal of symptoms for each child. This helps you to know how their initial symptoms present themselves so you can respond faster. It can make a world of difference in the health of your family and your pocketbook.
Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, that he may recover.” Isaiah 38:21
I don't think there is anything directly identifying in the post, but I will pull it down after a couple of days due to their issues with the employers, worker's comp, etc. Worker's comp is crazy and so unfair!! I am trying to let those who have been praying along from the beginning know what the current prayer needs are because this family surely needs the intercession.
"We finally got into see the gastro this morning and after his exam/etc... he confirmed that Dave does have neurogenic bowel also. This wasn't a big surprise to us but pretty hard still.
Seems, Dave has went “numb” and has went back into his shell.
I am finding myself really getting frustrated lately, not at him just the whole situation. Would you ladies please say a prayer for my heart to soften.
We are adding yet another “routine” medical procedure for him that he feels so humiliated with me having to help. Pray for him and pray these medications , etc will help and we don’t have to look at a “bag” or surgery ..
Thank you, ladies.
Also, this is going to sound selfish but please pray I can get Dave calmed so I can go to a MNO, tonight. We are at the pain dr so praying he can help.. I really need a few hours to get refresh some. My self care has been nonexistent since all this and has really taken a toll on me."
Contentment is not by addition but by subtraction: seeking to add a thing will not bring contentment. Instead, subtracting from your desires until you are satisfied only with Christ brings contentment. -Jeremiah Burroughs 1600-1646
When I was a newly married wife, I put Merry Christ-a-must as a greeting in our Christmas cards for family and friends. Many people, including my mother in law, told me they loved the sentiment and asked if I minded if they copied it. It is really neat to still have some of them using it in cards to us today!
"One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord And to meditate in His temple." Psalm 27:4
"Teach me Your way, O Lord, And lead me in a level path..." Psalm 27:11
"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:13-14
Little Jo is definitely in a growth spurt. She is ravenous and eating like never before.
She made a ramming move at my fingers as I put down some oat grass yesterday! She was very hungry, and I think she thought I was competition for the first pile I put down for her. Rather than retreat like she usually does, she defended it. She's never done that before and can thrust forward faster than I expected. It was an interesting behavior to observe.
According to a friend who is a restaurant manager, it can be at least another week before we have romaine in stores again. UGH!! I was able to find some iceberg lettuce. All they had was small heads though, and the prices were raised. It's selling out due to the romaine recall.
This week it is bok choy, mustard greens, turnip greens, iceberg lettuce, carrot shavings, yellow squash, and butternut squash in her meals. The greens change with what is available. She also gets a few berries in each meal. I give her a calcium supplement once a week. I also grow her different types of grasses and some chia.
I make her meals on the weekend and store them in zipper bags in the fridge. I place paper towels in each bag to absorb the moisture which keeps the vegetables fresh longer. She eats about two and a half times her shell size every day. Whatever is left over goes to our poultry.
How big will she grow? It can vary a bit, but here are a couple of tortoises here and here to help you get an idea.
Below are 2017 prices. I buy the 600 count starlight peppermints from Sams Club for $7.98 and two of the Tootsie Roll Midgees 400 count for $5.47* each. I mix these together in a large bowl and fill party favor bags with 2-3 cups of the mixed candy depending on what purpose I have for them. I use these to fill our family's "Wise Men Bags" and also as gifts for co-workers, acquaintances, etc. This is a very inexpensive way to to share some Christmas cheer and let people know we value them. I filled 26 bags from the three bags of candy. The clear party favor bags cost me 3 cents each. I spent 78¢ on each bag. For the mail carrier, delivery people, and neighbors, I add a tin of cookies that I buy in a set of four from Sams for $10. *This year, the peppermints are the same price at Sams, but the Tootsie Roll Midgees are $14.97. The bag is now 700 count. At the 2017 price, the Tootsie Rolls were around .01 each. Now, they are around .02 each.
As soon as I set foot on this little farm, I knew I wanted to raise my children here and told Clint I could happily live here until I died. The years have passed. It has been a haven for all of us. We've been discussing our future and realized our plans might change. Not knowing if we will live out our days here as we originally planned, I am cherishing every moment a little more. It is such a privilege to have all of the land, privacy, wildlife, and beauty to ourselves on this very peaceful tucked away farm.
Sunset is still my favorite color, and rainbow is second. Mattie Stepanek
From when I woke up until past my bedtime, my family and friends made me feel very loved! It was a very busy and fun day!
Even with copy and paste, it took me over two hours to thank all of my Facebook friends and some of the sentiments were very touching. I guess everyone let me know how they felt about me since I am closer to kicking the bucket! Ha ha!
As part of my birthday, I asked Clint to take cake and a LED lit balloon to a neighbor. I sent two pieces so he could taste both kinds, and my sweetheart-ed neighbor shared it with his nurse. I didn't go myself because it was close to his bath time.
Thank you all for giving me a wonderful day! Thank you Chris from Poland for the birthday wishes sent through Brandon!
Not many are aware I took an interior design course early in my marriage. It goes hand and hand with my love of home construction and home improvement. I don't really try to incorporate the decoration aspect of interior design in my home because I have to be more practical and economical with our family size and various activities. However, I do enjoy making rooms functional and beautiful. I was recently called upon to put my knowledge of interior design to use. What a treat for me! The Kitchen Planner was very helpful while designing a kitchen. It was fun and very easy to use! I was able to include all of the existing windows and doors and also all of the elements that the owner wanted. The 3-D view was a really nice feature. The appliance choices did not match up exactly in size with what I had to work with, but it was close enough. Now that the kitchen is in the process of being built, it is turning out much better than I imagined! The home owner has not stopped raving about how it is turning out. I was asked to do the bathroom next. This was a complicated design. I thought on it for weeks and could not resolve some issues that kept popping up no matter how I laid things out or how long I worked on it. I talked to God about it in detail as I fell asleep one night and asked Him for His help. I woke up with the changes I used in my head the next morning. It was a complete flip from what I had been thinking, and it was perfect for this home. It included everything that was requested in a better way and without the issues I had encountered in previous attempts. We know God cares about the details in our lives because He tells us to take everything to Him. I have stayed very busy and juggled a lot on my shoulders this past year and am thankful God readily responds to my prayers in such helpful ways.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Philippians 4:6
To come to Thee is to come Home from exile, to come to land out of the raging storm, to come to rest after long labor, to come to the goal of my desires and the summit of my wishes. -Charles Spurgeon
I am 50!! What a blessing to be able to make it to that milestone!! Happy Birthday to me!
I am celebrating it joyfully with my loved ones and friends while I count my blessings. I am blessed with good health and am not on any prescription medications. I am approaching the day for it but currently do not wear prescription glasses. I have all of my own teeth. I am physically active working in our home, on our farm, and in helping others. My marriage and family are whole. Our finances are in order, and our home is solid.
I am abundantly blessed with all I need plus enough to share generously with others. My God given talents were perfectly tailored to allow me to serve those placed directly in front of me. I feel and see evidence of God's Hand on my life. For decades, I was torn apart and felt lower than every other human being but escaped those chains and found my value in the Gift God gave to me. His name is Jesus and He offers you the same gift of salvation. It's real, and it's life/eternity changing!
To God be the glory for every single bit of it! I am blessed far, far beyond what I ever imagined could be possible for myself. I would not trade my life for anyone else's. I am His, and He is mine. Today marks another year closer to realizing what is behind the veil. I am a bit closer to meeting "the One Who loves me more than all others combined" face to face. One day I will leave my family behind and run away with Jesus. My mind struggles to comprehend casting off this mortal form and stepping into eternity much like a caged bird would struggle to comprehend the vastness of the great outdoors.
Birthdays are simply mile markers in this journey that has a glorious ever after ending.
“Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever! I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; Job 19:23-26 Amen! My flesh will see God!
I asked Amanda recently to dye my hair because I didn't want to create a stumbling block by making others envious over my Crown of Splendor. Ha ha!! Amanda is bossy and sassy while my hair is being colored. I get a kick out of it! Temporary role reversals can be very entertaining. She calls my grey my "wisdom hairs." I like the way she thinks! When I am in her chair, and I mention them, she says, "What grey hair? I don't see any grey hair! What are you talking about?" She's the best! Amanda also told me that Clint and I are not aging as fast as people normally do. We have much less than 50% of grey. My same child told me it bothers her that I am turning 50 this year because she loves her "mommy" and doesn't want to think about me growing old. I told her, Lord willing, I plan to stick around a long time because I have many more pranks to pull on her!
Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be... -Robert Browning
Behind Bethany's head is a one of a kind piece of art work. No one else has one like it, and it can not be duplicated exactly. I do not know of anyone who would want to endure the circumstances to get it. I hope one day I can tell you about it. For now, I will rejoice that two of my children and I survived someone with very evil intentions who put us in a life threatening circumstance.
2 Thessalonians 3:3
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.
After one of our children shared some observations of something that happened in their workplace, we had a discussion about how to handle it. These are the notes from that discussion. You can see how much love a person carries in their heart for someone by how they speak of the other person. Their words will reveal what is going on inside of them. For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. Matthew 12:24
Faults are thick where love is thin. -English proverb
Are you a peacemaker trying to heal divisions, or do you encourage divisions in God's people with the advice you give? Do you encourage or discourage peace in your own life? A good thing to ask ourselves about each person in our life is: Are we finding FAULT with other people or are we finding ways to LOVE them better? Are we focusing on what they did that displeased us/others? Or, are we obeying what God has commanded? A peacemaker not only tries to help others find peace, they try to make peace with estrangements in their own lives.*
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
and walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant sacrificial offering to God. Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
*I add this because I've had a friend murdered by her ex-husband. Others have been hospitalized because of domestic violence. Do not put yourself into an dangerous situation. Do not lose sight of sound wisdom or good judgement. (see Proverbs 3:21)
Whether you are family close or estranged... to our readers in the US, China, Philippines, India, Egypt, Canada, South Africa, Liberia, Cameroon, Italy, United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium, Poland, Ireland, and more...
Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours!
For those celebrating Thanksgiving too, may there be much rejoicing and plentiful thanks given for what God has done in your heart, your health, your relationships, your finances, and much more!
We love you, but more importantly, we hope you realize and accept God's incredible love for you!