Monday, February 16, 2015


The babies are asleep at the same time, so I after making a mad dash for some coffee, I sat down to this computer. I had permaculture on my mind. Land development, sustainability, crops, fruit trees, and livestock were on the tip of my tingling (gosh, I love nap time) fingers waiting to be punched into a search engine. I'm a geek for such things.
But a headline caught my eye. A MESSAGE SIGNED WITH BLOOD TO THE NATION OF THE CROSS, showing the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians who had been kidnapped in Libya. I didn't watch the video. I had no desire to. I am sick over the headline alone.
Sick, and helpless.
What can I do? How can I speak of planting orchards while people are being brutally murdered for their love of Jesus? What can I do, a mother of young children still at home? What can I do.
I can teach my sons to be bold and strong, truth- speaking leaders in their home and in their community and for their country. I can teach my daughters to do right, and stand up for what they believe and be courageous in this world.

I can teach them that there is a difference between right and wrong and that it doesn't stop at our doorstep. It must be carried with them, no matter how trivial, no matter the cost, and wherever they are.

I can teach my children to grow a love for Jesus so big that they too would be willing to die for him.

And if I ever became a mother that had to witness her son or daughter die for Jesus, I pray I would choose death for Jesus over life for the world.

This is not a political blog. Although I have a great love for people, I have little interest in politics, nor do I have the knowledge required to compose a political blog that would be worth any read at all. So I'll stop there at the risk of sounding silly.
But the world is evil, my friends. And that is nothing new.

I'm going to stop writing and pray. Because that's something I can do.

Please join me.

"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come." Matthew 24:14


Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Day

19 (NINETEEN), years ago he asked me to be his Valentine. Whoa. Nineteen short years ago, I went to bed under my parent's roof a girl of seventeen dreaming of a blonde headed green eyed boy who had just asked me to be his Valentine. I said yes. And then I said Yes to being his bride, the maker of his home, the mother of his children, his partner for life.

And pshaw, I had no idea what that meant. I was but a starry eyed girl.

But tomorrow will be our nineteenth Valentine's Day together. Our 16th as husband and wife. For better or worse. And really, it's been mostly for better. Because he's held my hand as I've delivered his seven children, just as he's held my hand while he prays over our family at the dinner table. And how do you do better than that?

And even though it took him most of those years and many lovely bouquets of roses to figure out that I really prefer wildflowers, and even though I'm just now learning to open up and communicate when I'm mad rather than withdraw into myself and frustrate him further, and even though we still quarrel over too many of the stupid intricacies that come from raising a family and doing life together, I see a beautiful partnership in us that was not there in the beginning. The beginning when we could stare into each other's eyes for a lifetime and talk on the phone for hours. Those early, silly, fluttery, desperate-to-be-together days. We were just breaking ground then. And there've since been years of foundation laying that doesn't come easily or go together well without hard labor. Hard labor and hard laughter and yes, even victory over hard times is a great combination for a strong foundation. And although mistakes have been made and words spoken in anger that shouldn't have been, it was all just part of the navigating.

And now we're just into the getting older and familiar. We know what the other is thinking, we're comfortable and safe and feel wiser with each other (not a boring comfortable and safe, a close-ness). We forgive and move on quicker, we know how to approach sensitivities and vulnerabilities with a little more tact. We're not there yet. The there where we've got it all together. Sometimes I feel maybe we're almost there and then the pure. stinking. human-ness. of one or the other takes us back a step.

And so, because we're human, we may never get there this side of heaven.

But tomorrow will be out 19th Valentine's together. And I think that's pretty good. And I think more marriages should work harder past the foundation-building to see the beauty of the design coming together.

But I'm not here to get preachy, 'cause I don't have the answers. And everyone's marriage has variables unique to them. And I'm no expert, because in the scope of an entire life together, 19 years is a blip. So I guess what I'm saying is, Happy Valentine's Day. Love is wondrous. Hold on to it. Work for it. Fight for it. Pray for it. For better or worse.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Messy Chickens

Our project this weekend was to contain the chickens. Up until December, they'd been boarding in the moveable coop Joe built two Springs ago. But this coop isn't good for winter weather and temps in the teens and below. So we moved them into the barn with the goats. This solution was perfect. Until they realized they didn't actually have to stay in with the goats and could squeeze through or fly over the fencing anytime they chose and make an absolute mess of the rest of the barn. And let me tell you, we only have fifteen fourteen laying hens, one Cornish rock meat hen that managed to escape two years ago and has taken up quite well with her egg-laying sisters, and one big 'ol rooster who disappeared all Fall and reappeared when our other rooster kicked the bucket. But 16 chickens is plenty enough chickens for disaster.
Chickens are funny. Chickens are messy. And in no time my barn was littered with chicken poop. Poop on the milking stands (no way, Hosea)  poop on the floor, poop on the feeders, poop on the goats, poop everywhere. Hay was scattered from their constant scratching in it, even the shelf where I keep supplies didn't escape their trolloping ways. They tore apart feed bags, tipped over garbages, (did I mention all the poop?!). Every day, a new mess to clean up. It was like letting toddlers run amuck in Grandmother's parlor. Very naughty toddlers.

It had to stop.

We hmmed and hawed about just where to put these chickens for the remainder of the winter and decided on a side compartment of the barn. Three sides sheltered, one open. Not ideal, they may get cold, but we'll use deep bedding to keep them snug and happy, and out of trouble. My handyman went to work right away. Luckily we had these cattle panels just laying around, and in no time flat he had an efficient little temporary pen built where the chickens will spend the rest of their winter vacation. Not sure what I'd do without his mad skills. I pretty much just stood and directed. And played in the hay with the chickens. Oh, and we also clipped their wings (for those concerned, it doesn't hurt them a bit), so there will be no flying the coop.

 The gaps in the panels were still too large, so this man painstakingly tied wire in between each one, and in like 10 minutes. Notice the blurred hands. He's quick. I'd still be out there cursing that wire if it'd been me.
 Check out that old stone wall behind the chickens. It's just so cool to think of the hardworking hands that layed that barn foundation so many, many years ago. Mad skills indeed.
Sleeping baby Lucas. Usually he's cozy and covered with the afghan his Grandma crocheted for him. But I wanted a picture of these feet first. Perfection.

Looking out my kitchen window. Pretty snow.

Charlotte and her Mom




Monday, February 9, 2015

Prayers For a Good Day

Already, I knew it was going to be one of those days. 
I sank down behind the quiet of a locked bedroom door and the first words that poured desperately from my mouth were, "Dear Lord Jesus, please, please let this be an easy day."  

But even as they left my mouth, I knew these were the wrong words. Because in this stage of life, and in many other seasons as well, there really are no easy days. But there can always be good days.

So what came to me instead was really what I needed:

Let my prayer be for a joyful attitude. Joy for all that surrounds me, even messes. Lego messes, food messes, laundry messes, school messes, relationship messes, heart messes. All.

For patience and strength, and the wisdom to know that adversity makes me stronger and wiser, sometimes crazier, but always more dependent on Him.

For character humble and meek. Knowing that it's not always my will that's best.

For wisdom. And everyday knowing that any small victory won or lost is not necessarily an indication of my parenting ability.

For self-control. Strength to harness both my thoughts and my actions. And to quiet my tongue especially.

And lastly and most definitely, thankfulness- for it all.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015


The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.

-Emily Bronte 



Every once in a while I get out of the kitchen and onto the farm, and these are my most favorite moments of all.
Well, almost my most favorite moments...