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. 

Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy 2018

Happy New Year from our Family to you and yours!

We followed our 20+ year tradition and stayed home together as a family.

We played games, watched TV, and just enjoyed being together. It gets pretty loud and is a lot of fun. There are many siblings, so there is plenty of good-natured mischief. We had a buffet style meal and snacks laid out on our counter we call "Middle Earth."

When it came time for the year to change, we counted down and then bowed our heads to give thanks for the year before and ask God's blessing, leading, provision, and protection for 2018.

However you celebrated, where-ever you are, we hope 2018 is good to you!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christ-a-must from our family!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Tidy Pantry


My wonderful family helped me clean out, paint, and restock one of my food storage areas. It's full of pressure canned meals I have prepared recently. My goal is to clean out and reorganize our kitchen next. I hope to reduce pots and pans by at least 1/4. Then it's on to reorganizing the larger pantry. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

What do you keep your thermostat set on?

We were asked. Here's our answer:

We don't have a thermostat.

We have a wood stove and grow our own trees for heat.... and save a small fortune every year. When we're cold, we add more wood. When it's too hot, we stop feeding the wood stove.

Wood warms us twice, and we get the benefits of a gym membership for free when we cut, load, unload, split, and stack it!

It takes a team minded family to keep the wood in the house, keep the wood stove going, remove the ashes regularly, and keeping the fire fed. Big tasks like this build a sense of "togetherness" as a family.

We've been doing this as a family for 20+ years and have many wonderful memories from it. No one takes for granted what it takes to heat our home.

This method has been a big blessing to our family, and we are thankful for the Lord's provision of health and property to grow our own "heat."

Friday, December 15, 2017

It's that time of year

 Christmas wrapping paper tubes aren't what they use to be, 
but we try not to let anything go to waste!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Walmart Grocery Pick Up Experience

I had Joshua pick up a Walmart grocery order this morning. I was disappointed to see they substituted pints for all four orders of quart sized canning jars. Even though it caused me an immediate problem, I decided to suck it up.

I sent Walmart a polite note explaining how and why that substitution does not work for home food preservers. They called us to apologize right away and agreed it was a poor substitution.

Then, they refunded me the $36 for the pint jars and told me to keep them as a gift for their error.

I remain a happy customer!

Now poor Joshua is back out hunting down the quart jars I need.

If you are new to trying Walmart Grocery, please use this link. It will give you $10 off, and I will get $10 off too. Thank you!

To date, ALL of our pick up experiences have been extremely positive. I hope more stores follow their model.

Chicken Curry Soup: AKA Bethany's Favorite

Several asked so I figured I'd put it here. "It's on the blog." is much quicker than me finding it again and copy and pasting. 

Remember, I make mine in a HUGE US NAVY stainless steel pot I snatched up in a thrift store for $10. I was in the store a long time with family, and it became heavy, but I didn't put it down. Nope. I knew it's worth in my kitchen. I felt like I had been mining for gold and come up with a fist sized nugget! In the next store, I found an thick, extra long, stainless steel ladle that fit it! I was grinning from ear to ear. God loves Wendy and sends her good gifts to care for her family! 

I make around 35+ quarts at a time, but some is eaten right away. The rest goes into pint jars. 

I don't measure. I go by how it tastes and the ratio of meat to veggies and broth. My recipe will change with what ingredients I have. 

I use chopped onions, celery, potatoes, carrots, chicken, my homemade chicken stock, and salt, pepper, my own mix of curry powder, extra turmeric, and garlic to taste. 

Everyone in my family loves it and asks me to make it, but Bethany is the one who won't let me forget about it. 

Turmeric has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-viral properties making it a good choice for cold and flu season. 

Adding pepper helps the body take up more of the medicinal properties.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

“God presses Israel just like we press the olives,”

“God presses Israel just like we press the olives,” Rabbi Weiss said. “It appears the olive is destroyed, but what is actually happening is the bitterness is being removed and the oil, the sweetness, is being saved and purified to send light into the world.” Click the link and scroll down the page for image of children pressing olives.

This is good to remember when we face difficulties in the Christian life. 

Romans 5:3-6 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

Philippians 1:6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Friday, December 08, 2017

A good pocket chainsaw




This pocket chainsaw cut through this 1.5" gum sapling in less than a minute. It is sharp, the handles are comfortable and strong, and it folds compactly in it's pouch. It came with a fires starter too. We love it and will be adding more to our camping gear.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

"Coolest toolbox I've ever seen"


Amanda rounded the corner where Clint works and thought to herself, "Now, THAT is the coolest toolbox I've ever seen!" 

Then she looked closer and realized it was her daddy's!
She sent me the picture to show me the additions Clint has made since the last time I saw it.

I bought him more stickers for it for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Still At It


Bethany's favorite soup Chicken Curry Soup

In the past several weeks, I have been canning hundreds of pints and quarts in an attempt to clean out our big freezers for upcoming sales that I want to take advantage of in my ongoing effort to cut food costs. 

I have more jars to fill. My saying is "Empty jars are idle investments."

We eat very well and are able to share food with others. I do it on less than most families of four spend. I am thankful for the knowledge and good health that allows me to do it.

I wake up early, start the recipe which always includes fresh vegetables that need to be prepared. Then I prepare the jars and lids, fill the jars, wipe the rims, and put the lids and rings on them. It takes until late at night to finish processing. After processing, the jars are washed, dried, labeled, and put into storage. I am at it so much; I imagine I'm hearing the "chff chff chff" of the cooker while I am awake and asleep. 

It's deeply satisfying and rewarding work to have healthy cost effective meals on the shelf ready to heat and serve.

God blessed me for my hard work in a way that made me smile big. He sent us three free hams and a free turkey this week! 

If you've been waiting for me to reply to an email or phone call, it might be a while. I'm doing great, but I am busy and will be for a while. My love to all of you who call me "Wendy, Mrs. A., Mama Asbell, or Wendy Darlin'." 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Remi and Avalance

My family was asking about the sweet lady who bought Remi and Avalanche from us. If you drop by the blog, please write the email in the header and let us know how things are going for you. 

Mama Bear


Hunting on my land. Placed in front of five painted trees and two trees with "No Hunting" signs on them. Shooting in my yard's direction. Endangering my children. Baiting deer. They're going to get caught. #mamaasbellbear

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A bit closer...

Today is a different kind of birthday. 

There is joy and anticipation because I have friends giving birth today. 

There is also sadness because the father and father in law of friends of ours, is on his deathbed. I am thankful I was able to minister to him through comfrey salve and years of prayers. 

I turned 49 this morning. I am celebrating it joyfully with my loved ones 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 glasses. My teeth are all intact and in good condition. I am physically active working in our home and on our farm. 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 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. 

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. 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.

I Corinthians 2:9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"

Monday, November 27, 2017

Unicorn Spit Table


I wanted to do something fun and colorful for where Emily and Hannah sit to do their school every day. I found a thrift store table for $25 and used a coupon to get it for $20. 

After I sanded the table and painted the base color. I used Unicorn Spit gel stains which have a unique and heartwarming beginning. I saved some money by purchasing the white and adding food coloring gel to tint it to the few extra colors which I only needed in small amounts. I also purchased the purple and blue since I knew I'd need more of those and wanted those colors just right. 

It's hard to see the full effect of these gels in this poor picture taken in a hurry on a rainy day. Once the clear coat is added, it gains depth and is very pretty. I painted the edge, underside, and base of the table grey. I paired it with black chairs. 

My girls love their table! 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.
Psalms 13:6

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Sam's Club Online Customer

For weeks, Sam's Club did not have an item I wanted in the store, so I decided to order and have it shipped to the house. That was my first online order with them. 

It arrived today. One of the 5 lb packages of bulk grits tore open en route. Messy! They apologized many times and are replacing the torn package of grits AND my other items to make up for it. 

I am very pleased and thankful for a quick and easy resolution. 

That's how you treat a customer! 

I will order online from Sam's Club again!

Lyme disease IS in Virginia.

Yesterday, I learned of a friend of a friend who suffered greatly and died from untreated Lyme. He was finally tested, but it was too late. 

Two people in my immediate family had the bull's eye rashes and other symptoms. Both were told "Lyme is not in Virginia" despite the fact I found evidence on the CDC's website (published years earlier) that said otherwise. They both went from doctor to doctor to be told the same thing and were given prescriptions that did not work. Both of them heard, "I don't know what it is." by more than one doctor. 

We had to find a Lyme literate doctor online who gave us excellent advice which was followed to the letter and restored their health. Both of them were healed 100% of all symptoms.

LYME IS IN VIRGINIA, and it's becoming more of an issue. I believe the numbers are much, much higher than what is shown on the CDC's website for a few reasons. One, doctors aren't testing for it when they should due to misinformation. Also, the ELISA test is known to be highly inaccurate. In fact, in Virginia, "patients being tested for Lyme disease must be officially informed that a negative test result does not mean they don’t have Lyme disease."
Lyme is all over the country. Listen to the people living with it. I have so many friends who are battling it. ALL of them have had to fight for testing and treatment. Many of them have given up with the traditional medical community because the fight was costing them valuable time. 

I am fed up with the medical professionals who are standing in the way of effective and timely treatment. 

Please educate yourself about Lyme, and its co-infections.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017