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
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.
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.
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. http://amzn.to/2CRpGeq
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.
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!
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.
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."
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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'."
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
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"
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.
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!
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 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.
My job as wife and mother is to feed my family as healthily as I can as economically as I can. For about 20 years now, I shop in November for the best deals on turkeys and purchase as many as I can afford. I usually average about 20 turkeys.This year, combining discounts, I was able to get my quota of turkeys for .34 a pound. I purchased 26 turkeys this year.
I roast them, de-bone them, and then cube and pressure can the meat in my pressure canner. The skin and bones go into US Navy sized pots, and I make dozens of quarts of rich stock and pressure can that. The scraps of meat and vegetables at the bottom of the stock pot go into freezer bags to feed my dogs. The bones go to our hogs who gobble them up. It's rare I can purchase food that inexpensively and make it do so much.
Having meats, soups, seasoned and plain beans, baked beans, and roasts I made myself for my children to eat is my favorite form of "convenience food." I know exactly what is in each jar. I like canning over freezing because once the work is done, it can sit on the shelf for years and not cost me anything extra to store. They can open it and eat it straight from the jar (which they often do) or reheat it quickly. My husband and children love taking them to work for lunches. Co-workers usually get a few jars too. They also make great gifts that are always well received. If you have not learned how to can but have been wanting to, take the leap and do it. Canning is easier than you think and not as risky as some people would lead you to believe. I taught myself in my 20s by following USDA standards. I had no one to ask for help as I learned. I figured it out. I passed the skill down to all of my older children. My youngest two children are still learning. If we can do it, you can too!
Miracle, who has a story and a desperate mother's prayer behind her name, chose Brandon as her human. She use to follow him all over the yard like a dog.
Then when he moved out, she chose Joshua to be her person. My big, strong adult son is so tender and considerate of what I call his "old lady cat." She is about 17 years old, just a little younger than Joshua.
She lived outdoors serving our family as a barn yard mouser for 15 years. She did a great job and often also caught rabbits, snakes, and lots of moles and voles. We started keeping her indoors in the winter once we noticed she was slowing down. She mostly stays indoors and sleeps a lot now. She goes to the door and meows when she wants to be let outside to use the bathroom. We think she also teleports because no one is sure just how she gets back indoors.
She's a feisty gal. There's been several times a dog or livestock has been giving me trouble which would bring Miracle running with her claws out to take care of business. I've seen her chase pit bulls, rottweilers, Great Danes, and Great Pyrenees out of our yard. She's also fostered litters of orphaned kittens including a kitten one of our other cats stole from a neighbor's cat's litter. In fact, couple of months ago, she took in a litter of orphaned kittens for a neighbor. I fed them, and she kept them clean and warm.
I am not big on having cats in my house, but it looks like there is an exception to every rule. She's served us well and has earned an easy retirement.
Clint cut down four trees for Brandon. This is the dead oak tree before he cut it down. Brandon used his chain saw to help cut them up into firewood. Joshua helped too. I cut a little, kept an eye on everyone's safety, used hand signals to communicate with Clint, and helped load the wood. We will use the wood for heating our home and the branches will go along the property line to create a natural barrier. Caleb grabbed some of the oak for woodworking.
This tricky tree was leaning towards Brandon's house, so he wanted it down before it got any taller.
It was not a fun tree to take down. Clint put a cable on it to make it fall so that it missed landing on Brandon's deck. It behaved and landed exactly as Clint predicted.
We are thankful for the wood, and Brandon is thankful to have the trees gone. He has a few very tall pine trees in his backyard that have to be cleared before he can repair the shed that came with his place.
It's been a privilege and a joy for me to spend a good portion of my day today making herbal medicine for friends and family.
I am mailing jars of my comfrey salve to family and many friends. I am taking some to neighbors tomorrow. I love crafting and gifting medicine for those I care about. Doing so lifts my spirits and lets me share some of God's amazing love.
We have many things to tell you about this. But it is hard to explain because you have stopped trying to understand.You have had enough time that by now you should be teachers. But you need someone to teach you again the first lessons of God’s teaching. You still need the teaching that is like milk. You are not ready for solid food.Anyone who lives on milk is still a baby and is not able to understand much about living right.But solid food is for people who have grown up. From their experience they have learned to see the difference between good and evil. Hebrews 5: 11-14
During that time many believers will lose their faith. They will turn against each other and hate each other. Many false prophets will come and cause many people to believe things that are wrong.There will be so much more evil in the world that the love of most believers will grow cold.But the one who remains faithful to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:10-13
Today's Christians show more enthusiasm for their sports team or their pets than they do studying the Word of the Most High. Our churches are teaching watered down milk to Christians, who are called to example God's love to others, but they don't even know the differences between agape, philia, storge, and eros. The Bible warns us that in the last days, "the love of most believers will grow cold." It's easy to understand how that can happen when you see how little the church knows. Note it says "of MOST believers." That's the majority.
We are seeing more and more of the evil in our society. It's making itself visible from the venom spewed online to the hate fueled attacks all over the world. The thing about rising evil is that it gives us more opportunities to example a greater love, but we have to know what that is in order to example it. We have to strengthen our minds and spirits so our flesh does not win the battle as we respond to the evil around us. We need to grow closer to the One who created us.
To prepare for what is happening around us and for what is to come, I encourage you to study the Word of God, and study it hard so you will not be part of the many who are easily deceived and fall away.
Whatever excuses you are making, lay them aside and pick up your Bible today. Now is the time to "armor up." Don't give up eternal reward for temporary pleasures.
Set yourself up to succeed in studying God's Word on a deeper level. Make appointments in your calendar, set alarms in your phone, and/or download and listen to lessons as you commute, do household chores, or work out. Set goals, discipline, and reward yourself. Make it enjoyable: have your favorite snack, play music in the back ground, buy highlighters and notebooks, diffuse essential oils, etc. Find out what keeps you on track, and do those things. If you stumble, don't negative self talk yourself into defeat. Simply drop the many excuses, and start again.
We Christians also need to strengthen our bonds with one another. That means we have to quit the excuses and give our time to others instead of self serving pursuits. We also need to encourage, build up, and show support for one another. Now is the time to prepare for battle. I don't want my love to grow cold at a time when the world needs an example of God's love more than ever.
My husband was born over a month premature in 1969. I was told he stayed in the hospital for almost two months. He had a "rare blood disorder" that caused doctors to say he'd likely die, but it miraculously disappeared after the church held a prayer vigil. He was so small when he came home, he fit in a shoe box. My mother in law said he was an ugly baby. When he was released by doctors, the billing department told my MIL she had to pay the bill in full before she could take him home. She tried to work out a payment plan, but they told her again she had to pay it in full. She said, "OK. I guess you'll have to keep him since I can't do that. I'll pay a little each week and come to visit him." It's amazing how fast they worked out the payment plan after that. He's 6', healthy, strong, and at nearly 50 years old, just spent two full days cutting down trees and then cutting them up into firewood. The third day, he worked a 10 work day and then cut firewood again for three hours. God is good, and I am very thankful for the gift of my "premature baby" husband! Clint and I still chuckle over his mother's creative way of handling the billing department.