Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Thank the Lord for Dirty Dishes


"Dirty Dishes"
Mama hollers "Supper time,
And don't make me tell you twice
Wash your hands and wipe your face.
The table's no place for your toys,
And try to use your inside voice,
Don't dig in 'til we say Grace."
So we put down our forks and bowed our heads
And then she prayed the strangest prayer ever said:

"I wanna thank You Lord,
For noisy children and slamming doors,
And clothes scattered all over the floor,
A husband workin' all the time,
Draggin' in dead tired at night,
My never ending messy kitchen
And dirty dishes."

We all got real still and quiet,
And daddy asked "Honey, you alright?"
She said, "There ain't nothing wrong,
Noisy kids are happy kids,
And slamming doors just means we live,
In a warm and loving home,
Your long hours and those dishes in the sink,
Means a job and enough to eat.

So I'm gonna thank You Lord,
For noisy children and slamming doors,
And clothes scattered all over the floor,
A husband workin' all the time,
Draggin' in dead tired at night,
My never ending messy kitchen

For my little busy bees
Beggin' mama, mama can you please?
Always wantin' me and callin' me 
Loads of laundry pilin' up
Crayons crushed into the rug
In those little sticky kisses
And dirty dishes,
And dirty dishes..."

Sunday, June 26, 2016

All Believers Are Not Alike

All Believers Are Not Alike

We must not expect all believers in Christ to be exactly like one another. We must not set down others as having no grace, because their experience does not entirely tally with our own. The sheep in the Lord’s flock have each their own peculiarities. The trees in the Lord’s garden are not all precisely alike. All true servants of God agree in the principal things of religion. All are led by one Spirit. All feel their sins, and all trust in Christ. All repent, all believe, and all are holy. But in minor matters they often differ widely. Let not one despise another on this account. There will be Martha’s and there will be Mary’s in the Church until the Lord comes again. ~ J.C. Ryle

Friday, June 24, 2016

Naughty and Nice

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Those naughty and nice geese of ours keep life both fun and frustrating! 

When it is not breeding season, they will eat out of my hands. If they hear me talking in the house, they will rush to that window and try to get my attention. If I walk outside, they rush towards me and greet me with such noise! If I sit on a blanket on the ground, they will encircle me and sit down to "visit." 

When they are sitting on eggs of have goslings, they are all business! I am no longer their buddy, and I had better steer clear of their nests. If I dare to check a nest, I am in hot water for days. They will fuss at me every time they see me.

They are toddler like with their curiosity. They will manipulate anything I have low enough for them to reach with their beaks. If it is light enough, they will try to make off with it. 

Gardening has been especially challenging! They went behind us and pulled up the tomato plants! The first time, they left them right beside the holes. We replanted them as soon as we saw them, and they recovered just fine. So, the next time those mischievous geese saw them, they made off with the plants! I have no idea where they took them! We still have a few dozen tomato plants in other areas, but boy, those geese keep us on our toes!

Our geese are great guardians of the yard. Nothing comes through without us knowing about it because the geese will sound the alarm. They frighten off dogs, foxes, and raccoons which makes them a valuable addition to the farmyard.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Around Here

There is always so much going on at our little farm. We've cleared land to fence a larger area for our hogs to graze. We also separated our sows who will give birth in July and August. We planted around 20 trees this year. We will finish cutting the trees we cut down into firewood in the fall. We are keeping our eyes on the elderberries so we can make more syrup and benefit from those wonderful antioxidants. Our wild blackberries will be ready next month. We'll be canning to preserve the bounty.

Our garden has been hit or miss. Between the excessive spring rains and our schedules, we didn't get as much planted. We have a lot in containers and are starting a large carrot bed. I am planning a fall garden and will put that in the ground in July.

Brandon has just purchased himself a second vehicle and is returning to college in July to advance his education. He is enjoying gardening at his new home. He was happy to report that the grapevine I gave him a few months ago, from a cutting off of one on our farm, is producing grapes! He stopped by Saturday and played K'nex with Emily and Hannah to keep those relationships strong. Sunday, he managed to give himself a concussion and needed Amanda and Caleb to watch over him for 24 hours. He, Amanda, Bethany, and I have plans to go to Hobby Lobby this week.

Amanda is making strides in her studies. Her grades are excellent, and she gets nice notes from her professors. When she is finished, she plans to obtain her Master's Degree. She is also volunteering at two local churches and helps with the errands each week which has freed me up to resume the two days of bulk cooking each week requires. She often sends me, "I love you, mommy!" texts out of the blue which makes my day.

Joshua and Caleb are also volunteering alongside of Amanda at one church. They are handing out food to those who need it. They help carry the boxes of food to their cars. Joshua is building on his knowledge of car repair and is still taking behind the wheel under Clint. Caleb is happily using the new router (woodworking) every chance he gets. He's more than ready to start behind the wheel! Both boys are slated to get braces in the near future.

Bethany has been expanding her cooking skills. She recently surprised us with a homemade Boston Cream Pie! It was delicious! She's been showing us she's no lightweight when it comes to heavy work on the farm! She helped us put in a fence recently and did a great job. She and Amanda plan days out to shop and enjoy each other's company. Bethany's also been learning to groom our dogs and can give a pretty good men's haircut. 

Emily and Hannah are making strides in their school and are learning more and more every day! They love going outside to play and have been catching tad poles again this year. Tea parties are all the rage! They are usually filled with goodies that draw their brothers into the mix. This year, Em and H-bug aren't just getting eggs from their chickens, but they are cooking their own breakfasts using them! Emily is 8 and can cook breakfast for the entire gang in the time morning chores done.

Clint has been working overtime to pay for the medical bills from earlier this year. He's been trying to keep up with repairs at home to the stove, fridge, mowers, weed eaters, and other equipment. It's been one of those very demanding times of life where we struggle to keep up with all of the "to do's."

Monday, June 20, 2016

Finally!

I am finally starting to feel better from a mean sinus infection that came after a severe environmental allergy (meow) attack. This is not related to the seasonal allergies I've had success in treating. It spread from my sinuses to my ears, so I had a double ear infection along with it.

This infection had me taking quite a lot of herbal medicine followed by three rounds of antibiotics followed by tons more of herbal medicine..and it's still not 100% gone. It's antibiotic resistant, the worst I've ever had, and I am keeping busy just staying on top of it with saline and essential oil/xylitol rinses and my own natural herbal antibiotic blend. I have made more progress in the last four days than I did in all the preceding weeks. 

The little bit of energy I have goes to my treadmill/prayer time and whatever most pressing thing of the day is after that. I am trusting the Lord has a plan and a purpose for the interruption in the routine, but I am eager to get back to full speed. 

I have been trying to return calls, texts, and emails. I haven't even been able to keep up with Facebook. I am still doing the online counseling and those messages come first. 

Please excuse the brevity in words and the ease of "thumbs up" as I play "catch up" in all areas of life. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Real Christian Quote

"A real Christian is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen, talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see, expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another, empties himself in order to be full, admits he is wrong so he can be declared right, goes down in order to get up, is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is poorest and happiest when he feels worst. He dies so he can live, forsakes in order to have, gives away so he can keep, sees the invisible, hears the inaudible and knows that which passeth knowledge." A. W. Tozer: The Root of the Righteous

Monday, June 13, 2016

Keeping the Grocery Budget on Target Tips

Feeding eight, and very often nine or more, people, we have to stay on track with the budget. One way I do that is by making use of the online shopping cart feature at stores I shop at, like Sam's Club. Even when I don't order it online to pick up at the store, using the shopping cart is helpful. I simply put what I need to buy in the cart, and it keeps track of the amount I've spent. I can efficiently add or subtract as needed to help me maximize the budget without going over. Once I am finished, I print or handwrite the list. Sometimes I copy it into an email where it can be read on a phone. This helps keep the groceries in line with our budget. 

When I shopped by sale items and coupons, I would make my weekly menu by what was on sale. While there are a few fresh meat and vegetable coupons out there, there aren't that many when compared to the processed foods which we try to avoid. There sure aren't enough fresh food coupons to make even a slight dent with the amount my family consumes! I save more money by raising our food at home, so I put my time into that instead of cutting coupons and matching up sales and then driving all around our area to acquire them. Now, I make my weekly menus by what is on hand at home. I only buy what is needed to go fill in the recipe for those meals.

Herbs and spices are much cheaper when purchased in bulk. I have used herbalcom.com for well over a decade for not only our medicinal herbs but also culinary herbs, spices, and specialty salts. Sometimes, but not very often, Sam's Club will beat their price. Since they arrive in a thick blue bag, I repackage and relabel them into quart sized canning jars and store in a dark, cool place. Using these spices, I often mix my own blends such as taco seasonings, steak rubs, etc. For supplement or herbal medicine, I buy gelatin capsules and cap my own or make other forms like tinctures, extracts, teas, etc. This has helped me create very flavorful dishes and buy supplements for our family without breaking the bank. 

One of the biggest ways you can save on your grocery bill is by doing this one thing: eliminate waste. Look for ways to use everything you can. If it is about to spoil, find a way to use it before it does. One of the tips I acquired years ago was to take the juice from canned fruits, add a little water, and freeze it into popsicles. By pausing before you toss something out and thinking about how it can be used can bring you big savings.

Happy Frugal Mothering! 

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Monday, June 06, 2016

Poor Truck

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First, Brandon got her stuck in his front yard. 
Our good friend and neighbor Super Mack pulled her out with his tractor.

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Then she failed inspection for upper and lower ball joints on both sides.
Clint saw the tie rods were worn, so he is replacing those too.

Clint is doing the work with the boys as a homeschooling lesson + life skills. Clint replaced his first ball joint as a teenager while a certain girl handed him tools. His father died of alcoholism, so he had no one to teach or help him. He learned all he knows about automobile repair by buying a book and by "doing." He got frustrated from time to time but pushed through it to keep learning. He never gave up and kept trying until he got it right. He succeeded at each repair he attempted even if it took a lot longer than planned. He didn't have much confidence at first, but with each success he gained confidence in his abilities. Repairs became easier and easier as he gained experience. He now does 99% of the work on our vehicles and other equipment and has saved us a small fortune which has helped contribute towards us having more luxuries in life-like two to three week long family vacations a year plus several weekend trips for him and I. I am thankful to have been the girl who watched the boy struggle to learn and become the man he is today. I am even more thankful he is making it easier for our children by teaching them all he can. Clint is a man who persists and remains committed to a task and continues to have a teachable spirit in all areas of life. He is a careful man who limits his time in front of the television to truly live and experience life for the Lord's glory. After 30 years of being his girlfriend/wife, I am still absolutely over the moon, crazy in love with him.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Are You Resting Often Enough in These Three Ways?

LEARNING THE UNFORCED RHYTHMS OF GRACE

"What’s undone weighs heavily on me. I can’t escape the feeling I’m not doing enough. My to-do list looms before me daily. ...
I’m ashamed to admit it, but a good day to me is defined by getting things accomplished on my list. Not the people I’ve touched. Not the time I’ve spent with God. Not the things I’ve learned. Just what I’ve done." read more here.