Saturday, May 31, 2014

Happy 45th Birthday Clint!!

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I am blessed to have a husband who has not only encouraged my reaching out to others, but has exampled it our entire marriage. Clint Asbell is the godliest, most loving, most forgiving, most willing to work to share God's love person that I know. I have seen him self sacrifice to help strangers time and time again. He has taken in a child who was not his own and paid for them to receive an education, helped them straighten their finances and save their car, and told them about the importance of knowing Christ.

Skill wise, I don't think there is too much he can't do. He has built houses from the ground up and can do wiring, plumbing, framing, foundation laying, detailing, roofing, vinyl siding, etc, etc, etc. He has a natural aptitude with large and small engines and electricity. Math is his strong suit and computer programming comes easily to him. If it needs doing, he will try his hand at it. 

He's tough, but gentle. I have seen him take a terrified and rearing Thoroughbred and calm it down with only words. The rooster that attacked our daughter was soon extra crispy when Daddy found out. He has made sure the widows of his friends had all they needed. He has stood up to bullies in public places and sent them out the door. He held our still born children until the last possible moment to make certain even their still forms knew his loving arms.

When he is discouraged or weary, I take him by the hand and walk him around our 14 acres and point out what he has built on this little farm. There is so much, it takes a good while.Then, I show him our seven children and remind him we have more waiting. I pull the meat and vegetables he harvested himself out of the freezer and thank him for hunting/fishing and helping in the garden. I make sure he sees how God has worked through him to provide, protect, and bring up this family and farm.

When he shares his testimony and family history, people are floored that he is not bitter, angry, and resentful, but has a heart filled with love, forgiveness, and kindness. He has overcome so much through CHRIST! The standard he lives out for our children is high. I feel blessed every day I am his wife and mother to his children. 

Frequently when I meet one of his co-workers or close friends, they tell me I have been blessed with an outstanding man. I am honored to be his wife and the mother of his children. 

Happy Birthday Clint!!

I love you. I have always been and am still

...all yours!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Wonderful Blueberry Oatmeal Muffin Recipe

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

The night before Easter, I made 8 dozen muffins using this recipe as a base. They were delicious and moist. If you must cook with perfect measurements, stop reading here and try the recipe as published. If you enjoy flexibility and experimenting in your cooking, read on: 

I added ground flaxseed to the batter. Yum!

I added a little more yogurt and a bit of water because my batter was very thick. The drier batter I experienced might have been due to the distraction of dancing to 80s music with my children, or chasing them around with the spatula so I could hear their giggles, or Clint tickling me as he came through. ;-) I didn't measure what I added, but when I finished the mixture was a little wetter than a "wet/drop biscuit" dough. 

I did not have plain yogurt. I had Chobani Greek Blueberry and....Black Cherry! If I had run to the store, I would have probably chosen vanilla.

I also added a topping with pecans, oatmeal, and brown sugar. That was a crowning touch that everyone raved about! The pecans were more a pecan flour because Yiddee (Emily, 6) and Hannah, 5 were in charge of chopping those, and, well, they went a little crazy! 

I tend to bulk cook a lot because it makes sense to make extras once I already have the bowls and ingredients out. It's the same amount of time to get them out whether I bake one dozen or twelve. The oven is already warm and ready for work. Clean up is about the same as a small batch, so it saves me a little time here and there which adds up quickly as I strive to best manage my home. 

I bag the muffins by the dozen for my fab five which gives them two mornings of breakfast per freezer bag when scrambled or boiled eggs are added to the meal. My commuting trio enjoy having muffins bagged up in pairs in the freezer which makes a great grab and go breakfast or mid-day treat.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Disease That Has Affected Both Sides of Our Families

"Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common neurological disorders and causes of disability in young adults. It is found in every country in the world where epidemiological data exists. It affects an estimated 2.3 million people worldwide, although it is likely that many hundreds of thousands more remain undiagnosed*. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 31, with around twice as many women as men diagnosed. It is not yet known what causes the disease, and as yet there is no cure.

The severity of the course of MS as well as the symptoms can vary widely among individuals. These can include blurred vision, weak limbs, tingling sensations, unsteadiness and fatigue. For some people, MS is characterised by periods of relapse and remission, while for others it has a progressive pattern. Some people may feel and seem healthy for many years following diagnosis, while others may become debilitated very quickly. For everyone, MS makes life unpredictable."

Click the image to learn more.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

It Visits Twice a Day

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Usually the heron (a Great Blue Heron) will go to our little pond, but after a very heavy rain, it will visit our ditches in the front and back yards. Normally, I can't get many or any pictures, but this time, a bag blowing on my deck disguised my movement for a good while. These were taken Easter morning.

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You can see one walking here.

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These are the sounds they make.

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You can watch them close up while they court and nest here.

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Herons are mentioned in the Bible:

Leviticus 11:19 "...the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat."

Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Birthday, Brandon!!

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Happy Birthday, Brandon! 

Ever since God has graced our lives with you, you have been a great joy and delight! As we have tried to bring you up in the Lord, you have taught us more about the nature of our Father.

We are very proud of your accomplishments and successes. It thrills our heart every time someone tells us how talented you are. Last week, someone told us you found a solution to a problem in just a few minutes that they had been dealing with for years. 

You can not begin to know how scary it was for your father and I to surrender to the call to homeschool you and your siblings. We were stepping out into a world where no one we knew had gone before. We had no idea what we were doing, but chose to follow and not question. Now, here we are. God was clearly in control and even through our failings and short comings, He was working His perfect plan for your life. He still is.

It blesses us when your co-workers compliment us for your manners, integrity, and work ethic. We are thankful for the example you set to your siblings. You stand out for the Lord and have made us renew our efforts as parents. 

We are thrilled when we see how much you tithe each week. You have a heart to do the Lord's work and help others. Your plans for the future seem very sound and wise, but always listen for the Lord's leading. Where He will take you will be better than anything you can imagine for yourself.

Lastly, you would have had your birthday party last weekend, but you made a comment to Joshua that you suspected it was going to happen that day. So, Dad and I decided to mix things up on you!

We love you very much! 


Mom and Dad

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Remember the Cost

This is another one of those things that has been shared a lot, but bears repeating:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

For the Weary

I shared this in a group setting and was told it touched some weary hearts feeling the pressure to conform to other people's expectations on debatable things like to breastfeed vs bottlefeed, to boycott or not boycott, homeschool vs public education, work vs stay at home, secular vs Christian music, dresses only vs pants, long hair vs short, worship vs secular music, ministry vs profession, homesteading vs city life, and etc.

I have found the sincerest Christians are those who aren't wrapped up in calling lifestyle choices right/wrong, but are constantly examining their own hearts and are working on their inner person. They are honest about their flaws and see their need for GRACE and HUMILITY. They aren't tangled up over debatable things because they are dealing with weightier matters like being humble, being kind even when they don't feel like it, having patience when being tested, showing agape love to the person who tried to hurt them, and so on which is basically putting action to the Word of God. Being a doer instead of just being a hearer.

They are not trying to exalt their particular way of doing things, but are working to become better examples of Christ's love for us. They are exalting the Lord and His work in their lives and are encouraging others to know Him. Romans 14 has some good advice about disputable manners. I find verse 22 particularly helpful. 

Anyone can make a list of things they do/don't do and compare it to someone else's list and find variations. However, when we make an honest assessment of how we compare to Christ (our Example), we find we all have so much to do in ourselves.

Jesus released us from the bondage of the law. Like birds turned loose from a cage, we are able to enjoy the freedoms God has given us. If God's Word says it is wrong to do, avoid doing it. If the Holy Spirit convicts you something is wrong, heed it. Work on your inner person by cultivating godliness and pulling weeds of rebellion. You don't have to live under what other people think is ideal. If we did, I'd be working in a factory and would only have two children. Live as God directs you. He will lead you to right where you should be.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Elizabeth River Run

Best wishes to all of our friends who are running in the Elizabeth River Run 10k today! 

Go get 'em!!!

Team Grandma rocks!

My Results: The Good-natured Realist

The Good-natured Realist

Good-natured Realists are warm-hearted, helpful personalities. They do their work conscientiously and have a pronounced organizing talent. They often feel they are committed to traditional values. The family in particular is extremely important to Good-natured Realists. Their greatest pleasure is making themselves useful and taking care of other people.
But they do not like pushing themselves to the fore; they prefer to fulfill their tasks out of the limelight. Good-natured Realists are real workaholics; they are very reliable and nothing is too much for them when it is a question of completing a project. Thoroughness, conscientiousness and sense of duty are their strongest points. They prefer established and familiar situations to new and unknown situations.

In dealing with others, Good-natured Realists are considerate and obliging; they are always happy to put aside their own requirements in the interest of their family and friends. Their home is mostly very well cared-for, cosy and tidy. Their perfectionism on the one hand and their aversion to delegating tasks on the other hand often lead to them taking on too much both professionally and privately. They cannot stand discord; conflicts make them very unhappy. One could almost describe them as being harmony-addicted - and this sometimes leads them to strongly neglecting themselves and their own wishes because they are unable to bring themselves to put up a fight.

Good-natured Realists dream of a stable and trusting relationship for life. Marriage and family are very important to them. They take care of their partner attentively and lovingly and put up with a lot for a harmonious relationship. They are also loyal and reliable friends. However, they can be very hurt if their interpersonal commitment is taken for granted for too long.

Adjectives that describe your type
introverted, practical, emotional, planning, tradition-conscious, good-natured, self-sacrificing, caring, devoted, friendly, loyal, considerate, reliable, conscientious, loving, quiet, reserved, modest, helpful, objective, hard-working, warm-hearted, communicative, painstaking, altruistic

As a Good-natured Realist you are one of the introverted personality types. Consequently, you don’t appreciate too much commotion around you so you can devote yourself to your task with sufficient intensity and concentration. You can work very well alone and while being immersed in a task, you don’t appreciate to be continuously interrupted or disturbed.
Nevertheless, your need for harmony and your adaptability make you a good team worker if necessary. Therefore, you are relatively flexible when choosing your working environment, and have the ability to decide which setting you prefer. A profession that gives you the feeling that you are doing something for other people is important to you. Good-natured Realists are very caring people and enjoy taking care of others. Despite your introverted personality and because you are a feeler- type, it is easy for you to put yourself in the place of others and sense their needs.

You are most comfortable in a one-on-one situation; you are less enthusiastic about delivering speeches to major groups. At any rate, when choosing your profession, make sure to surround yourself with people who share your personal ideals and convictions, and on whom you can count to work with you. Too many obstacles to your caring for and supporting others make you unhappy.

For you, it is important to depend on a clear and structured work flow. You need time to prepare yourself for new demands, possibly acquire new competencies, and finish one task after the other. As a matter of fact, you are less opposed to routine work than many other personality types. To a certain extent, you don’t mind dealing with them. In your workday, some diversions should naturally be available, but juggling three balls at the same time isn’t something you enjoy doing because you would be concerned that the quality of your work would suffer. That would be a nightmare for your perfectionist expectations of yourself and your accomplishments.

My thoughts: Most of it is fairly accurate with an exception here and there. I will fight with people when it comes to husband, children, and certain friendships. I am fiercely loyal to those in my inner circle but tend to let people get away with things when it comes solely to me. I don't enjoy doing the same job day in and out and love variety. I multi-task like crazy and take satisfaction in having "many irons in the fire at one time." In professions, I enjoyed being in managerial positions and am very good at delegating and motivating others to work towards a mutual goal. I rarely need time to prepare myself for new demands because my chosen profession has been motherhood/business owner/farm manager where new demands are often thrust upon me suddenly, and I have to rise to the occasion on the spur of the moment. There are other things that aren't quite spot on, but overall it is close.

Take your personality profile here.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Green Thumb Ministry Opportunity

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in. -Green Proverb

Food prices are constantly on the rise. I encourage you to plant fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, and grape vines now to help feed future generations. I am doing that now and hoping it will benefit my children's future families. Brandon knows this is a goal of mine, so he purchased me cherry trees for Mother's Day.

You can also plant more than you need in a garden and bless a family near you this summer and fall.

If you have a fruit tree that is producing fruit that you can not use, offer it to someone who will be thankful for it. Our family was blessed with bushels of pears and made good use of them.

Our family has also been blessed by neighborhood/co-worker hunters who have filled our freezer with venison cuts. 

These weren't things we had to have, but we were grateful for them and saw them as part of God's provision for our family.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Proud of Our Girl!

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This is the sign for the building Amanda purchased right before she was made assistant manager at her job. Amanda saved her money from working while still buying her gas and paying her school loans, cell phone, car insurance, clothes, some of her food, and honoring God with her tithe. She accomplished this over the last 6 months of working. She's done a great job of being a wise steward!

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This studio will be where she works on and stores her projects until she sells them.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mother's diet affects the 'silencing' of her child's genes

A unique 'experiment of nature' that took place in The Gambia has now revealed that a mother's diet before she conceives has a permanent effect on her offspring's genetics. This is the first time the effect has been seen in humans, and is regarded as a major contribution to the field of 'epigenetics.'

Read the rest of this article here.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Made Me Smile

Emily 6 to Hannah 5: "Did you know Mom's and Dad's REAL name isn't Mom and Dad?! Dad's real name is Clint, and Mom's is Wendy! Isn't that weird?!!" Hannah's jaw dropped to the floor. Mom is my favorite name anyway!

I've taught Emily our names, where Clint works, phone numbers, etc. I guess she didn't believe me about the names since we are rarely called anything except Dad and Mom! 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Quote: Pride and its Step-Sister Pettiness

When we lose ourselves in Christ—in the sheer immensity of who He is—when we realize we have nothing good except what we receive from Him, God will save us from pride, and its step-sister, pettiness. When we see God as He really is and ourselves as we really are, pride is simply unthinkable. In the end, “only the humble are sane.” “He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way” (Psalm 25:9) ~Randy Alcorn

Pride is concerned with WHO is right. It points fingers, assigns blame, and keeps the division going in our churches, families, friendships, and marriages.

Humility is concerned with WHAT is right. "Let's drop it and honor God in our relationship."

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Love This Mix

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picture taken late March
Not only is it pretty, but it is tasty! 
I have no problem growing it in partial shade.
I love snacking on it while I am on the deck. 
It is so pretty growing in pots!

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Per request: full grown pot of mesclun
taken May 18th

Friday, May 16, 2014

Osprey 2

The events in these pictures happened before the other pictures I posted on the 12th. It appeared an older offspring of theirs was trying to return to the nest. Since they just started nesting here last year, I assume it was the baby they raised then. I don't see where a baby from a nest in another area would try to take over this nest. The young Osprey made so much noise trying to get them to feed it! You could hear it in the house all day long. They would chase it away, and it would come right back. I saw them feed it a fish, but did not get it on camera. After that they went back to chasing it away. It perched in a pine tree for a long time watching them and then flew away. I have not see it since. We have not been seeing the Bald Eagles as often since the Ospreys have started nesting here. Considering the Bald Eagles will prey on the young and adults and will also steal their catch, that's probably a good thing for the Osprey.

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If you enlarge this one, you can see the mouth is wide open.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Our Easter Morning Big Breakfast

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My little girls put the tablecloth and food on the table without being asked. 

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Stop taking pictures and feed us!

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Every Easter, I cook a full buffet breakfast menu to suit everyone's tastes before we head to worship.
The ham, bacon, and sausage are down by the big boys.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Compact Fishing Pole

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I bought a Ronco Pocket Fisherman for my truck! When I am waiting where Clint works, there is a pond with fish in it. Normally, I clean out Clint's car for him so the time isn't wasted, but why clean when you can fish? As it's been said "a Bailey can pull a trophy bass out of a mud puddle!" (We Baileys are good, but not quite that good!)

I like it. It seems sturdy enough, has a good cast, and reels in easy. The black part on the handle is a small hidden compartment for tackle. The carrying strap was in it. I will be changing the 10# line to 20#. We might get a few for the boat since they fold down and can be stored easily. It's kind of hard carrying tackle for everyone, but a few of these might work. The younger girls seem to have an easier time with the smaller pole too.

Luke 5:6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking.

Update: I have taken several fishing trips with this pole, but have yet to catch anything with it so far. If I do, I will update.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Osprey 1

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The Osprey are back nesting on our place. 
I have some more pictures I will share in a few days.

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This adult Osprey was lifting its wings to enjoy the breeze off the York River.
Last year, they would fly away when I walked down the driveway. Now, they don't pay much attention to me, so I can sit down behind some grasses where I can observe and take pictures.

Update: These were taken in early April. They now have chicks in the nest!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

To Those with a Mother's Heart

You don't have to give birth to love like a mama. If you love children and look out for their best interests, (no matter if that is as an aunt, teacher, grandmother, single dad, etc) you have a mama's heart. 

Happy Mother's Day to all of my friends with a mother's heart!

The Story Behind the Song "Forgiveness"

I have a lot of mutual friends: friends that are friends with each other. We lived in the same town, went to the same schools, groups, and churches. We have many of the same interests, so sometimes the sharing can be very repetitive because of the similarities in our lives. Every once in a while, something that has been shared over and over is still worth repeating. This is one of those, and I took the time to look up part 2. 

For my friends who are going through betrayals, infidelities, abandonment, and other big life hurts, I encourage you to forgive. I share this to give you hope that there is a way to do it.

"He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass." George Herbert

"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." Ghandi

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Jesus (Matthew 6:14-15)

Part 2:

by Matthew West

It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don’t deserve

It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
It takes everything you have just to say the word…


It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible

Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Help me now to do the impossible

It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible

I want to finally set it free
So show me how to see what Your mercy sees
Help me now to give what You gave to me
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Making a Way for Ducklings

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We added five Khaki Campbell ducklings to our farm. 
Hopefully we will get a breeding pair out of the five. They are known for being good dual purpose ducks and are known for their excellent egg production. The breed goes back to the 1800s when Mrs. Campbell was trying to develop a duck that produced plenty of eggs, but also kept her husband and son in roasts. They are on the American Livestock Conservancy Watch List, and we are thrilled to help increase the numbers of this breed. We are intending to raise them for our own organic eggs and organic meat, egg sales, duckling sales, and breeding trio sales.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Only by the Grace of God...

Only by the grace of God...

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I wish I knew where to give credit because this is cool!
If you can relate to this, give thanks to the Lord, and pat yourself on the back! By His grace you are an overcomer!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Sometimes I Think He Texts Me Just to Hear It

My phone is a "dumb phone" which is the opposite of a smart phone and is what we call the simple phone I carry. My economical phone does have a neat feature though. I can program it to speak a person's name when a phone call or text message comes.

About a year and a half ago, to flirt with my husband, I programmed his number to say "Call/Text from: A Very Handsome Man." (I wanted to use an "A" first to keep his name at the top of the numbers list.) 

Oh yeah, he LOVED it then and still loves it now! It put some extra fun in our marriage! Better still, hearing it several times a day has reminded and reinforced in me what an incredibly handsome man I have married and how special he is to me. Clint has friends who have told him they wished they had someone who loved them the way I love Clint. How do you think that made Clint feel? The first time it happened, he came home and hugged me tight and laid a big kiss on me! 

Your husband is special ladies. Out of all of the men on the face of this earth, you married him and took his name as yours. Treat him as a special person, and remind yourself daily what a blessing having him as a husband is. Guard your heart against anger and bitterness. Use helpful, not hurtful, words and actions to build your relationships. 

Proverbs 14:1 The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

By the way, he frequently pays me back:

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Wednesday, May 07, 2014


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"Though He slay me, yet I trust Him." --Job

"There's a purpose to this pain. Let's get to living it out even as we heal." --Pastor Clint Asbell

Clint and I are spending today alone on the water together. Last year, we gave birth and said goodbye to our precious Isaac Coleman. We thought child bearing was done, but God had another surprise with a special purpose. Isaac was last, but definitely not least.

I can remember Clint with his hand on my belly counting the kicks and talking to Isaac about the great plan God had for him. God's plan is greater than what we imagined. Isaac has touched so many lives and continues to do so. Last weekend, I was sharing part of this journey with a small group. No eye was dry when I finished speaking. That story is scheduled for June 7th.

After delivery the nurse was baffled because I was so eager to hold Isaac. I had great joy in seeing him and in feeling his weight in my arms. She couldn't understand the joy because she could see no further than that moment, that still form. The sorrow came in letting him go to the funeral home knowing I'd have a long while before I'd get opportunity to know him. 

A few weeks ago, I asked a question which unintentionally caused an acquaintance pain because I was not aware of a death that had occurred months earlier. I admit I have not paid much attention to the external goings on around me this year, because it took mindfulness and constant effort to battle through my grief. Some days have been very hard. I had focus on getting my strength and stamina back, caring for the Mallory-Weiss tears, finding healing in Christ, helping my husband and children heal, and catching up on the many things that fell behind while I was on bedrest for five months. If I seemed out of the loop, it is because I was. 

Thank you to those who showed their love. It made a difference. I saved all of the cards, letters, gifts, and some of the flower petals. Time was short, so I do not have many memories of my son, however, I do of your love for me. Lord, please bless these people with an abundance of acts of love and kindness for their love and kindness to us. Shower them with your love, Father, so they can keep showering it on others.

Thank you for understanding when I needed time alone to heal. Thank you too, for relentlessly checking on me to make sure I was OK. Lord, please let these people always feel YOUR presence and hear YOUR voice when they are in the valleys of life. Like You did for me, please pick them up and set them back to running the race you have put before them.

Thank you to those of you who prayed for our family. Lord, please bless these special prayer warriors with stronger relationships with godly people and heal the broken relationships in their lives. Please grow their faith and make them stronger in You. Let them lay down what doesn't matter and race forward for what does.

Clint and I are determined to have a good day together. We ask you to give praise and thanks to God for the way He helped us, healed us, and expanded our ministry to others. Please take time to rejoice with us today that our miscarried and stillborn children are only away from us a short time, because 

....we will be reunited for eternity,

....never to part again, 

thanks and praise to the Lord!!!! 

He is worthy of our praise!!!!

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater." But I say unto you, they are inseparable. Kahlil Gibran

After losing his beloved wife, Hudson Taylor wrote in his journal: Love gave the blow that for a little while makes the desert more dreary, but Heaven more homelike.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Rooted Scion

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I kept them like this for six weeks in a plastic bag.

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I was able to get about a dozen scion cutting to root in damp paper towels.
Learning to work with scion wood is a great way to propagate plants.
I can remember my grandmother Bailey taking cuttings and wrapping them in paper towels on outings. She told me she'd grow a tree or a vine from them. She did this over and over while I was growing up. I am very thankful to have had useful life skills exampled by my grandparents.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

What is the Price of Your Integrity?

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Clint and I went to the York River State Park over our long weekend together. When we pulled up to the window to pay the parking fee, we saw a sign saying they were using the honor system. You were suppose to take an envelope, remove the parking pass, pay the fee by sliding it into the locked box and then hang the parking pass from your rearview mirror. The park authorities are trusting you to be honorable.

Clint searched through the envelopes for one with the parking pass still attached. The box was filled with dozens of envelopes with the parking pass removed, so it was hard finding the few that were left. When Clint returned, he looked at me and said, "I am sorry that took so long, but my integrity and the example I set are worth more to me than $3."

God often leaves us on the honor system. We get to make a choice that we think no one else will see. A choice we think doesn't matter in the long run. Sometimes He allows the additional pressure of other people's expectations of us or the thought that "everyone else is doing it." 

We should not let other people or their expectations of us sway us into doing wrong. If we do, we are serving that person but not the Lord. The Lord and His way should come first and nothing more and nothing less should be considered. If everyone else is doing it, it doesn't make it right. Exodus 23:2a Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. 

Every time you make the wrong choice, you cheapen your name. Every time you make the right choice, you improve your name. If you are a Christian, then the same can be said about the One you are called to represent.

$3 or $3,000,000 should not be enough to sell your integrity. Mostly, it shouldn't be worth anything to bring shame to Your Father. That's the Name above names we need to honor.

Although not a single one of us will ever be perfect, and we will all fail at some point or another; aren't you glad we can always seek and rely on wisdom from the One who is perfect and will never fail us? 

Aren't you thankful He grants new opportunities to behave honorably? God is a God of "do overs." That alone should make us want to choose what brings Him honor over what brings Him shame. 

This was picked up by Sonlight (homeschool curriculum publisher) blog. A special shout out to them and the visitors from their page!

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Enjoy the Present

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This was the first daffodil to spring forth in March. I had intended to go back and get a picture when it was fully opened, but Emily and Hannah beat me to it! I went back and the flower was gone! The girls were twirling around with it enjoying it much more than I would have. One thing I am thankful to have learned through my children is to...

Enjoy it while it is here and take nothing for granted because it may be gone tomorrow!

Ecclesiaste 2:24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.

Friday, May 02, 2014

What Can Be Built New Can Be Greater

lots of love to the dear ladies in China and Philippines 

When you have broken people trying to relate to other broken people in a broken world, there will be relationship issues. Sometimes those relationships are mended, and sometimes they aren't. I was talking with a friend who had worked hard to repair her relationship with her husband after financial infidelity. After he secretly drove the family deeply into debt and put major belongings in jeopardy, her trust in him regarding money matters was completely shattered. She loved him, so she worked with him to mend their marriage and rebuild the trust that was broken. The relationship changed, but she said it was actually better because of the financial infidelity. 

What?! That goes contrary to thought!  

It was because they both chose to work through their problems that they knew the other spouse loved them very much. His sin brought out the best in the relationship as it revealed how deeply committed they were to each other. They wanted each other more than looking for an easier relationship. Their love grew deeper because they saw the hurt they had both caused to the other and cared enough to make an effort fix it. After some time she said she would not go back and undo the past. Even though, what he did hurt her tremendously, it was through it that she saw how deeply they loved each other. Sometimes imperfections add beauty.

I've mulled that over and how it applies to all broken relationships. I think we make a critical mistake in wanting the past back. I agree with Socrates that, "The secret of of change is to focus all of your energy, not in fighting the old, but in building the new." We can not regain what was lost, but what can be built again by both sides thoughtfully putting God first can be greater than what was lost. It follows logical thought that if both sides are new creations in Christ, then their relationship can be new in Him too.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

I John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Psalm 149:4 For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

A Story Worth Reading

Tyler has always talked about heaven. About how he can't wait to get there. She said she thought it was because he heard them saying how wonderful it would be…some day. But he looked at her Sunday afternoon, before the storm, and told her he was ready to go to heaven. "Will you miss me?" he asked her. "Well yes," she said, "but let's not talk like that now." "How long will you miss me?" he persisted. And she just smiled and said, "I guess until I see you again."

"I have peace," she told me last night through her tears, "I know I have more pain to go through that I probably can understand. But I have supernatural peace.  I don't know what God has for me and my husband that our boys couldn't be here for, but I do know that He is good. His plan is good."

To read the rest of the story of April and Daniel, who lost their two precious boys, Tyler and Cameron, go here. Please lift them and their loved ones up in prayer. Their journey will be a very difficult one with some very challenging moments, but they will get through it. I know this because I know the God they serve and personally know of His compassion for hurting parents.

I am friends with a friend of this family who reported April and Daniel were badly injured themselves. This friend's son, Josh, was a close friend of Cameron's and is struggling with losing his friend. They are asking for prayers for emotional and physical healing for all of the people affected in Arkansas.

Around Here May 2014

Since before Christmas, we have been very busy trying to enjoy life and make memories with the kiddos while also trying to catch up on the work load. We've been on the road a lot visiting and seeing the sites. 2014 has been a phenomenal year so far and we are excited at all of the additions, changes, and new construction! We have taken advantage of new opportunities and are looking forward to the future. Some things I can't share, but know life is really good, and we are thankful for the Lord's blessing and provision. It is an exciting time in our lives!

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Clint built us a new deck and also put in new steps in a few different places. He also built me a new incubator since mine were destroyed in the barn fire a few years ago. In our "free time" (ha!) we have been building chicken tractors and pens. I am on track to start selling poultry eggs, chicks, and breeding trios in a year or two as well as produce our own organic eggs and meat.

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Khaki Campbell ducklings

Brandon is enjoying his new job as sys admin over two plants. He has received a lot of praise for how he has taken steps to organize his working areas. He is working M-F so I am not getting my Wednesday shopping trips out with him, but we are making time for fun on the weekends. One of his new bosses is even contributing to his key chain collection!

Amanda is enjoying her new job as assistant manager and was told she had made noticeable improvements to the store. The extra pay is nice. Her new building was delivered in early April. We are very proud of her accomplishments!

Joshua and Caleb are filling out and putting on muscle. They have been digging out our drainage ditches as well as digging new ones. It's a hard job, but they have done it without complaining. As a reward, we bought them passes to Busch Gardens and are taking them weekly.

Bethany has been enjoying her pass to Busch Gardens also. She is painting and doing odd jobs around the farm and deserves the reward for her hard work. 

Emily and Hannah are enjoying their reading and math lessons. If you are familiar with spontaneous or "trickle down" learning, then you will know what I mean when I say Emily spontaneously learned many of her math tables. I am hoping that happens with Hannah also. When they are not doing homeschool alongside the middles, our littles are mothering kittens, picking my flowers, and laughing at our ducks and ducklings. 

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Emily and Hannah laughing at our muscovy ducks.
Em had just lost a tooth the day before this picture.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.