Sunday, September 27, 2015

"I Don't Want to Be a Burden to My Family"

"Often, though, we don’t act like it—especially as we grow older, or a family member ages or sustains a life-altering disability. The best of believers will be quick to say, “I don’t want to be a burden on my family, and I will do everything I can to see that I’m not!” They assume they are doing their family members a Christian service, as if it were their duty not to have to depend on anyone for help.

Yet this is what families were designed for—especially Christian families. The Christian family showcases to the world that sacrificial service is normal. Christians are supposed to give even when it hurts. We serve, even when—and especially when—we’re tired. We look out for others’ interests before our own. And if we do feel we are taken advantage of, then we find our example in Christ who “learned obedience from the things he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8)." -Joni Tada in The Beautiful Truth About Being a BurdenGod designed my disability not to make me “independent,” but “interdependent.”

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Prayer Need

My son Joshua has had a rough morning. His nose is broken; no doubts about it. He is in a lot of pain and on his way to the ER with Clint. Prayers on his behalf are appreciated. 

Update 7:19 p.m.: It's been a long and busy day where I have not been near a computer. Joshua has a broken nose. No surprise there! His pain stopped in the ER. The doctor was amazed Joshua did not have more swelling, bleeding, and was not in pain. He used words like "amazing, incredible, unique, etc!" That is our God!! Thank you to those who prayed for him. 

Changes and Choices

My first child, one of my seven greatest joys, has purchased a home and launched himself into full independence. While I will miss his hugs and kisses each night before bed and many other aspects of having him under our roof, I choose to give thanks and rejoice with Brandon over his success. 

I've had to let babies go so they could be cremated. While I was holding them, I knew that moment was all I'd get and I had better make it count. All of life is like that, really. Time is such a precious gift and should not to be wasted. When I started feeling a little sad about Brandon moving out, I reminded myself not to waste time. This is a season to embrace a normal and healthy milestone and to rejoice that we are given the gift of being able to see it. 

From observing my own young life and many others, I know there will be a busy time of learning ahead as Brandon tries to balance the many areas of his life. With a new home, big yard, a full-time job, and a side business, he is going to be very busy. It is a time for me look for ways I can best serve my son according to his needs. I think some mothers look for ways to serve their child according to her wishes. There is a difference, and I don't want to make that mistake. Other mothers don't look to serve but to be served. The women I've observed expecting their child to cater to their expectations have all been bitter and have strained the mother/child relationship. The best course I can set for this period in life is to try my hardest to emulate Jesus in serving and loving my adult child. 

A lot of things are changing, but our love for each other will only deepen through the years as Brandon becomes the man God wants him to be. I can either focus on what I am losing, or I can focus my energies serving and in rejoicing. I refuse to waste time lamenting over something that is a blessing. Instead, I'll get to work serving my son in the ways he needs and allows while drawing closer to the Lord so I can be more like Jesus.

For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. James 4:14b

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Milestone and a Homeschool Success Story

Today, our family is changed forever. It's a day to rejoice!

Brandon, at 23 years old, has purchased his first home! God blessed his homeschooling education which allowed him the freedom and time to pursue his interests. That in turn helped him to be the top student in his college classes because he had already delved into those subjects during his homeschool years. His college success led to career opportunities. God opened the door to a fantastic job with excellent pay! He is the youngest in his company, and people often remark on how skilled he is. He has been working there almost a year and is getting high praises and earning very nice bonuses! He has tithed faithfully, and God has blessed him.

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(not his furnishings)

When Brandon came home from his business trip to Atlanta in August, he told me he wanted to buy his own home. I asked him if he'd like help. He said he would appreciate any advice we could offer. Clint and I prayed with him and started praying for him. We instructed him to contact his bank and get pre-qualified for a loan before contacting a realtor. He followed our advice. We then embarked upon a very quick and fun journey. 

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After inviting us to join him, we met a realtor and looked at three houses in one evening. Having spent much time in prayer about the matter, Brandon knew immediately which home was right for him. Clint told me later, "Wendy, he had the same strong conviction you did when we found our home." Brandon put in a bid that night, and it was accepted the next day. Everything he wanted from the owners, they granted. He could have afforded a more expensive house, but he did not want to over budget himself. 

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He is going to call me today as soon as the papers are signed at 11 a.m. When he does, his siblings and I will meet him at his new house with a truckload so we can do what families do: celebrate and help each other! It's going to rain all weekend, but we will be too busy to notice and too happy to complain. We are going to tie balloons on his mailbox and will have a "Congratulations" cake baked and ready for him along with some housewarming gifts. Then we are going to pitch in and help him clean and move into his new home. After he is settled, we are going to have a big dinner and time of thanksgiving!

His new house has a little over three acres including one end of a good sized pond where his mama is eager to test the fishing. His has three bedrooms and one bathroom. He has an attached garage with opener, large deck, gazebo, separate building, and a rolled wire fenced in area. His house is set up perfectly for his side business with separate entrance. It also has new floors, a new kitchen, new a/c/heat pump, new well pump, new appliances and water heater, new windows, and more. The lady who owned the house had put a lot of money into it thinking she'd stay longer, but her life and plans changed. Brandon is getting a fantastic value for his money! God has answered our prayers and provided beyond our expectations. This is a time to give thanks and rejoice!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Candy Poster

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I was asked for a picture of the candy poster greeting we made for Amanda's college success.  This is the best I have of it.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Unique restoration set to take place at Northern Neck's Menokin, home of Francis Lightfoot Lee - Columns

As a history loving homeschooling family, we are excited about this project. We've seen other historical sites who have used structural glass so visitors could see and learn about construction. It made it so much easier to understand and compare to today's methods.

"It’s a restoration, expected to cost $7 million, that will use structural glass to replace missing pieces of the home that once belonged to Virginia statesman and Declaration of Independence signer Francis Lightfoot Lee."

Unique restoration set to take place at Northern Neck's Menokin, home of Francis Lightfoot Lee - Columns

How I Calmed My Seasonal Allergies with Vitamin C

A few weeks ago, I developed a horrible case of seasonal allergies. It was the worst case I've ever had. I was miserable!

I tried to break up the congestion with a vegetarian diet, fasting, Thai spices, diphenhydramine, various herbs, Neil Med Nasal Wash, sprays, pseudoephedrine HCI, etc. Some provided a little temporary relief, but nothing let me rest at night. I was desperate but could not catch a break from the congestion. A good friend of mine suggested I get a steroid shot to give me some relief. I really did not want to go that route. 

After about two weeks, I gave up and stayed in bed all day hoping to get some much needed rest. I decided to redeem the time by watching a documentary called Food Matters. While watching that, I remembered my studies which taught me Vitamin C at high doses works as an antihistamine. After doing a refresher course in my health and nutrition textbooks and on the internet, I decided to try mega-doses of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid to be specific) and see what happened with the congestion. 

I tried 3,000 mg 4 times a day and had no side effects, but my horrible congestion is gone! After the first night, I felt well enough to get back on the treadmill again! I am a little too dry at this rate, so I going to lower it to 2,000 mg 3xs a day now that I can finally rest. Thank You, Lord for leading me to a simple and quick solution!

If you do your own research, you will see Vitamin C is very safe with very few side effects at high doses. It even has a sort of built-in safety guide. Loose bowels mean you need to back off on the dose a bit. I plan to study deeper about the IV Vitamin C and cancers and other diseases mentioned in the documentary.

*I share this information not intending to replace medical advice. I am simply sharing what worked for me. By all means, seek help from a medical professional if you feel it is necessary. If you choose to implement the same things as I, then you alone are solely responsible for the results. In all things, do your own research and use knowledge with wisdom.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What Worked for Me: Poison Ivy

I've always been very allergic to poison ivy. I swell terribly. My skin gets so torn up by it; it takes me several months to fully heal. Since I have a long, miserable history with this menace, I am going to share what I normally do and what I have recently learned.*

For the last week, Caleb, 13, has had the worst poison ivy I've seen to date. He knew he came in contact with the plant. I gave him specific instruction on how to wash it off. He "forgot." 

I make and use goat's milk soap. I soap up my entire body paying special attention to the areas that had contact with the plant, turn the water off, and leave the soap on for five minutes. Then I rinse. I repeat this three times. I have found this effective for reducing the incidence of rashes in myself by 90%. I have not had a serious rash in over ten years using this method. My eldest daughter wipes alcohol over the exposed areas after this procedure. If you are a forgetful teen, it doesn't help you much! Poor Caleb!

As Caleb's rash grew and the swelling creeped up his legs, Clint and I became concerned. We were advised not to take him to the Dr unless it got to a certain point due to a rampant stomach virus. 

Caleb's rash was large and painful to look at! He had blisters on top of blisters. The weeping overflowed the bandages and would run down his legs to puddle at his feet. His ankle on the worst leg disappeared from the swelling. One leg was twice the size of normal. However, he said it didn't feel as bad as it looked. As the swelling spread, we asked him if he wanted to ignore warning we received about the flu and get it looked at. He said no, having the stomach flu on top of the poison ivy would be too horrible to imagine. "Puking, pooing, AND itching? I'm good, really!" 

For the weepy stage, I've used Epsom salts for a couple of decades now. Epsom salts can be put into a tub or a container for a soak. We also add them to a bowl of water for washcloth compresses. We have also put the Epsom salts in a ball in a washcloth secured by a rubber band. We'd dip the ball of Epsom salts in water to dissolve a little salt and dab it on the rash when soaking was not convenient. Crystals form on the skin as you continue to apply. This helped us with the itching and weeping. 

For swelling, we use elevation and ice packs. We learned the magnesium in the Epsom salts also helps with this symptom.

Our "go to" OTC product for poison ivy is diphenhydramine hydrochloride (Benadryl). This works to reduce the body's release of histamines in response to the allergen, poison ivy. By itself, it did not provide Caleb much relief even when we doubled the dose per doctor's advice. While there are plant based anti-histamines, none of these seemed to be strong enough to help with the fierce itching of poison ivy.

Once the weepy stage is over, the skin affected by a poison ivy rash is inflamed and irritated. The skin can crack and sores form with scabs. Previously, I have tried OTC ointments and creams as well as several types of herbal salves and ointments. Most of these only serve to hold in heat which makes inflammation and itching worse. So, with Caleb, I decided to try something new. 

As a soapmaker, I knew milk is a wonderful emollient and humectant. It hydrates, softens, and smooths skin. The lactic acid lifts dead skin cells off and leaves skin feeling smoother. Having all of that broken skin makes contracting an infection much easier. As a medicinal herbalist, I am aware honey is antibacterial and also has many health benefits that would help speed healing. (search term "honey bandage" for further research)

Regular soaks in the tub were only giving him up to 30 minutes of relief. I wish you could have seen his skeptical face when I told him what we were going to try. 

I told Caleb to pour honey into his hands and gently spread it on his legs while he stood in the tub waiting for it to fill. He added dried milk to the water. I told him once he sat in the tub to let the honey dissolve naturally into the water. The first night, I told him to soak in the milk and honey for two hours. When he got out, the results were dramatic! The angry red skin had turned a light pink, swelling was down, and the area looked cleaner. He said the itching was gone and his skin did not pull so much when he walked and flexed his knees. Everyone who saw him before the bath said his legs were noticeably improved afterwards. He had relief for several hours.

He has been soaking in the tub for an hour in the morning, afternoon, and night. He's used 4 cups of dried milk and approximately 1/2 cup of honey in each bath. 

We have also been mixing milk and honey in a bowl of warm water until it is dissolved. Then we cool the liquid with ice cubes. We get washcloths "wet but not drippy." We put these washcloths on his legs and changed them out every 15-20 minutes. This is a convenient way to continue treatment so he can continue his homeschool work on his computer.

Caleb's rash is the worst but is healing faster than any I've ever had to treat of myself or my children. 

After the rash has passed the "heat" stage, I will switch to comfrey and goldenseal salve. Goldenseal has many healing properties including antibacterial. Comfrey is a cell proliferator. That means it speeds healing by turning the cells over at a faster rate. I've had excellent results in healing wounds with comfrey, so much so, that a friend's doctor has recently asked if they could buy my salve after comfrey healed his split foot when nothing else was working. This is the same comfrey salve that had rave reviews from an ER doc who saw Amanda's bruises a day or two after her roll over accident. God put good medicine in the comfrey plant. I encourage you to learn how to identify, grow, and use it.

*I share this information not intending to replace medical advice but simply to share what worked in my home as I sought natural help for my child during a time when going to the doctor was not the best choice due to a viral outbreak. I encourage you to seek help from a medical professional if you feel it is necessary. If you choose to implement the same things as I, then you alone are solely responsible for the results. In all things, do your own research and use knowledge with wisdom.

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Season of Celebrations

Last weekend, we celebrated Hannah losing another tooth!

This past weekend, our family celebrated Amanda's college successes! She requested my homemade four cheese two meat lasagna. We surprised her with a candy bar poster.

This week, we celebrate the birthdays of Joshua and Bethany who share the same birthdate. 

Next weekend, if all goes well, we are set to celebrate a BIG and exciting milestone in one of our children's lives that will change our family forever.

There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because theLord your God has blessed you. Deuteronomy 12:7

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Littleness of Our Spirit

“It is not so much the greatness of our troubles, as the littleness of our spirit, which makes us complain.” Hudson Taylor 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Your Home: Is it Prettier on the Inside than the Outside?

Young Christian wives and mothers, don't fret over the little things like how your home looks on the outside. Give God the heavy burdens relatives place on you when they tell you "what you should you do" with your time and money when you are doing the best you can. Instead, pay close attention to what is going on inside those walls. 

Rather than fret about what you don't have, focus on growing closer to the Lord by reading His Word and through prayer. Discipline your thought life to cultivate a thankful and contented heart. Ask God to remove harmful influences from your life and be wiling to let them go when He does. Build that relationship with your husband. Teach your children minute by minute to seek the Lord's ways and obey them. Teach them to ask "Will this activity or person draw me closer to the Lord or draw me further from Him?" Then teach them to have the strength and boldness to choose for the Lord. Study the Word and live it out in your own life. Instead of fretting about where you are today, invest in your family's future with prayer for them to grow closer to the Lord and each other with each passing year. Keep an eternal focus. 

God will bless you for your diligence in these areas in many ways. He does not expect our perfection but a repentant heart that is willing to be molded and to obey His Word. With new windows, a new roof, and new siding, my home looks much better on the outside, but it still does not reflect the beauty God has created within these humble walls. 

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Free Kindle Book Her Choice to Heal

Free Kindle Book: Her Choice to Heal

Free right now. Check the price before downloading. I downloaded a free copy so I can read it to see if this is something I can lend to someone who is struggling with the decision to abort.

As a Christian, I believe all human life is sacred (deserves great respect). However, I do not hate or condemn those who have had an abortion. 

Years after her choice to abort, a friend of mine hid for a week to herself with shame and regret after seeing a powerful pro-life display. Her pain was very deep. I was very young, lacked confidence, and did not know how to respond to her at the time. Now, I do.

Women who have chosen abortion: God loves you very much! You can run to Him without fear or hesitation because, in His love, there is no need for fear. He can heal you all the way through. In my opinion, the only thing worse than living in sorrow that you aborted your child would be letting that one moment in your life keep you so burdened you end up rejecting Christ and miss out on an eternity where you will see God's plan for unborn children revealed. Because of His nature, I know it is going to be something very, very good! I don't want you to miss out, so I share with you the Good News of Salvation.

Vinyl Siding

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We are nearing completion on installing the vinyl siding on our home. We started in June and have only been able to work every other weekend due to Clint's call in schedule. In spite of that, it has went up quickly. We missed some weeks due to heat and family events. Over the twenty years we've lived here, I wished many days for vinyl siding. My timing would have ruined the blessing in it. God gave us a wonderful work crew in our children. They have been very positive and very helpful throughout this project. Clint has been able to teach the oldest five a new skill. As they have worked beside their father, Clint has imparted life lessons coupled with Biblical truths. The music of our laughter echoes across our farm as we work. Everyone has helped out in some way or another from prep work to clean up. As we walk around and look at our work, we have so many fun memories on each part of the house!

Rather than rent a lift for $450 for the weekend, Clint decided to buy a 36' ladder for around $400 with a stabilizer bar ($40). The lift is a one time use, but the ladder can be used over and over or resold for most of the investment back.

The quotes we had on vinyl siding our home were close to $35,000. That was with leaving the abestos shingle siding on our old farm house. We were told by two contractors it was one of the more complicated jobs due to all of the additions, windows, and protrusions. There was a lot of prep work that had to be done before it could be vinyled. We saved $25,000 by doing it ourselves and were able to invest in several other areas that will give us a good return for our money. We also took two short vacations and were able to help some people in need.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Celebrating and Missing Amy

Last year on this day, Clint's cousin and my friend, Amy, died. She had always battled respiratory health which led eventually led to COPD. She died at just 51 years old. 

These are some of the memories and quotes I saved of Amy's to put in the genealogy file for our chlldren:

 "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 The verse Amy picked out for her Celebration of LIfe.

"I am me....I am good and God don't make no junk." -Amy's view of her health struggles

"My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness." Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness." -Amy 

"When I get home, the first thing that beeps at me will die a slow, painful death. I have a baseball bat and I know how to use the thing." -Amy looking forward to going home from the hospital

"Everybody lived through the night primarily because I was finally allowed a full shower. I pretty much told the RN I was taking one with or without their permission and assistance. I am 51 years old, awake and alert...I get to choose!" -Amy 

"Sometimes, even in your 50s, you just want your momma to make things feel better." -Amy 

"I may lead a protest if I find anymore zucchini floating in the the soup. It's like the Brussels sprouts CE used to put in soup...not a pleasant surprise." Amy on hospital food


I miss you, sweet lady! I'll see you again.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

What is the Worst Thing about Being Middle Aged?

The many goodbyes...

Please pray for my friend's family and loved ones.

Rest in peace, Thomasina.

Friday, September 04, 2015

A New "Big Barn"

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We have to close it in, run water, and power, but we'll finally have a new big barn (although much smaller) after the fire took our large and ancient 12 horse stall, two story barn (which was a landmark for pilots) that very scary night in 2011. Even better, this one is much further away from the house! This one with our other five smaller barns will be quite a bit more room and much better organized than what we had before. Four years ago, we were kept safe, and our home was spared. God has not only restored well beyond what we lost that night, but He has given us a better trust in His protection and provision.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

A Homeschooling Tip to Simplify Your Day

I am always looking for ways to help others homeschool. This tip is so easy and inexpensive to implement:

"So if you’re feeling a bit over-your-head as you hit the books once again, grab a spiral notebook and see if this super-simple system might see you through the dark winter months." -