Monday, December 31, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
For our family, the Christmas season has come to a close for this year. We have enjoyed 3 different Christmas celebrations this holiday season. We made a mad dash to Ky to share in our family celebrations there, and then back home to our own celebration Christmas morning. It has been an enjoyable December in our home, but it is time to get back to the productivity of normal everyday life. I am just thankful that the Lord remains with us 365 days a year. There are so many people who only think about the Lord during the month of December. I can't imagine life without having that intimate relationship with the Lord all year long.
I spent my day putting our home back in order. I took down the Christmas tree and cleaned the living room. I put the furniture back in its normal location, and I was quite pleased with the accomplishment. My daughter was a bit sad to see the tree go. For her, it is still the Christmas season because she is still on Christmas break. I have always taken the tree down on December 26th. It just seems like the thing to do in my mind. However, next year I think I will talk with the children and see what each of them prefer. I could leave it up a bit longer, but it must be down before New Year's Eve! I am flexible and willing to bend in some areas to make my children happy.
When we arrived back home from our Ky trip on Christmas Eve, we had a huge surprise on our kitchen counter. Tnfarmgirl had made us a huge basket of goodies and snacks. She had left an enormous meal in our frig. complete with homemade cookies and a pecan pie. I can't tell you how nice it was to walk into our home and have a meal already prepared. She had made me her wonderful salad with homemade Raspberry vinaigrette dressing. I had some of that for breakfast this morning! The basket was full of homemade soaps and salves and lip balms. She left a dozen of farm fresh eggs and even a chew toy for our dog. Wow, that is truly a friend. I felt so special with each and every item that I picked up out of that basket. It was a wonderful way to end a rough day of driving with an overstuffed suburban and a 160 pound English Mastiff!!! Thank you Cheri, from the bottom of my heart and my stomach!!!
My day has come to a close. I am tired, but very content. My heart is filled with thanksgiving to the Lord for all the blessings that He has given us over the last year. I stand in awe of all that He has done in our life.
grace and peace,
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Our home is full of hustle and bustle here in East Tennessee. We are finished with all the "Lists of things that must be completed before Christmas". Now we are just settling in and enjoying the holiday season. There is still much left to do in our home, but the things that remain are the things that are fun for the whole family. There are still sugar cookies to bake and decorate. We also make homemade peanut brittle to share with one and all. I have several fun recipes that we will make just for the fun of it. I also must bake a banana cake to share with our out of town family.
I have enjoyed the entire month of December this year. There have been some stressful moments, but all in all I am pleased with the outcome. I believe that making memories with our children is vital. I want the time that they are all home and little to be precious memories that hold them together like glue when they are adults. I have to be honest and say that there are times that I want silence in the house. The last few days have been filled with loud laughter and fun times for 5 children. There have been a few squeals of frustration, but all in all everybody has remained happy. I use to think that toddlers where loud, and then those toddlers grew into teenagers! I love the moments that I see all of my children interacting and being together. There is something special about a 16, 14, 11, 9 and 3 year old all getting along and having fun even if it is at the expense of my eardrums!!
grace and peace,
Monday, December 17, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
This chicken was one of the aggravating chickens. She did not like staying in the electric fence with the other chickens. She was always flying over the fence in search for something better somewhere else. Jacob and Michael had caught her many times and put her back with the others, but she always got out again by the next day. She was our most productive egg layer. We got in the habit of looking for her eggs in the barn, and she rarely disappointed us.
I hated to see that stupid chicken killed by the hawk. I was thinking about how stupid she had been. After all, we had purchased her a nice boundary fence that kept her safe, but she refused to stay there. We had a nice coop she could have laid her eggs in, but she refused to use that which was provided for her. She just had to do things her way...which resulted in her head being pulled off! That is when the Lord spoke to my heart...am I really any different than the stupid chicken? Don't I want to do things my own way instead of His? Doesn't my own way seem productive at times, but in the end it always results in disaster. Ouch, the Lord used a dead chicken to convict me of my own sin. I am so thankful that God uses real life situations to show me His ways. I will also take the time today to talk to Jacob about the folly of his beloved Henny Penny. It will be a lesson easily remembered for him as he was the one who took her dead body to the woods.
Last night, Jacob came in the house with his pockets full and a smile on his face. I asked what he had in his pockets and his smile became bigger. He started pulling out eggs. Henny Penny had left 9 eggs in the garden bed right next the safe enclosed pen. I see another Bible lesson for our Chicken Jake here!!
grace and peace,
Friday, December 14, 2007
I believe bringing the kids into the kitchen to create special Christmas goodies is a wonderful way to share special time with them. We do this all year long, but we make special efforts during the entire month of December. I wanted to share a FABULOUS recipe with you for a chocolate cookie. This cookie recipe is new to our family. I started baking them in October, and it has become my husband's favorite cookie of all time. Hope you enjoy!!!
Chunky Chocolate Gobs
3/4 cup butter softened
1/3 cup butter flavored Crisco
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups coarsely chopped OREO cookies (16 cookies)
3 (1.75 oz) MOUNDS bars chopped
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
Beat butter and shortening until creamy. Add sugars beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until blended.
Combine flour and next 3 ingredients. Gradually add to butter mixture. Stir in rest of ingredients. Chill dough for 30 minutes.
Drop by 1/4 cupfuls 2" apart on baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until barely set. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Yields about 2 1/2 dozen nice size cookies. (Be sure that you do not over bake).
grace and peace,
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Eric Novak came out with the Christian award “Blogging with a Purpose” in late April of 2007. With so many secular awards around, Eric thought it would be a good idea to come out with a Christian award.
1. Awarded parties must nominate five people who have not received the award.
2. The blogs that receive the award must serve some purpose.
3. In their post about the award they need to link back to this entry.
4. Awarded parties must post the award banner on their site. The banner must remain linked to this site.
Here are my picks in no particular order:
1. Ann the Pure of Heart
I recently stumbled upon Ann's blog, and it is a wonderful encouragement to me. First the beauty of her blog is outstanding. Her photographs are what caught my attention at first, but then her message caught my heart. She writes with a beautiful style of writing that touches my mind as well as my heart.
2. The Unlikely Homesteader
"A few years ago I was one of those people who curled up her nose at the idea of raising your own chickens or grinding grain. I mean they do sell chicken & flour pretty cheaply at the store, don't they? But somehow God grabbed hold of my heart and my husband's heart and led us out to the country. No one would have ever pictured us where we are. I'm just an unlikely homesteader". This is the passage that Nancy uses in her "about me profile", and it caught my attention right away. She expressed my sentiments exactly! I have loved reading her blog. She is a wonderful writer who encourages me in my walk with the Lord, my efforts in home schooling, as well as my farm life.
3. Java Dawn
Have you ever found a book that you just fell in love with the characters as well as their way of life? Those same characters words seem to leap off the written pages into your heart and cause you to stop and think...I mean really think. This is what Dawn's blog does for me. I have only been reading it a short time, but I have gleaned so much from her writings. I know that God has used her words to remind me of His ways. She is the kind of writer that makes you feel like you are sitting in the room with her sharing a nice warm cup of java.
4. Homesteading in the NW
Paula's blog is great fun to read. I have gotten great ideas about farming and homemaking from her, but more than that I have also received the Word. She posts pictures with scriptures that correspond to the photos. I love seeing her creativity shine through. She is quick to share encouraging words and honest thoughts. That is refreshing to me as a reader.
5. The Family Homestead
Crystal's blog was the very first blog I had ever read, and I have kept reading every since. There are days that I look around my home and think I don't want to clean this up again today. Reading Crystal's blog gets my fanny in gear because I am encouraged by what she accomplishes each day in her home. She has a wonderful web site that has many great articles to help ANY homemaker. She is a Godly Christian homemaker that loves her Lord, her husband, and her children.
Thanks Cheri for thinking of us! We are honored.
grace and peace,
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
grace and peace,
Monday, December 10, 2007
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Later in the evening Michael asked me just how much we fed the other animals during the Great Escape. I told him I really didn't have a clue, but I was sure it was a lot. Apparently we had strung so much corn through the pasture we had every dove on this side of the mountain attracted to our farm. Michael informed me that our horse was laying down looking ill. He doesn't lay down very often and he was concerned that he had eaten too much feed. I spent the rest of the afternoon praying that I hadn't killed all the rest of the animals by overfeeding. I am happy to say that all farm animals here are doing well. The good part of the afternoon was that I became very intimate with all of our cows. We bonded together that day. I named the black cow in between my runnings, and she responded well to me. When she sees me now, she heads my way. I know that she liked the feed I kept giving her, but since we aren't going to eat her I decided we could have a nice relationship.
I wish I had pictures to share from the Great Chase, but I was a little to occupied to be shooting pictures.
grace and peace,
Friday, December 07, 2007
Here was the sight earlier in the day with Missy offering moral support to the sick little guy. O.k. perhaps it is the sick little guy offering a soft pillow to Missy, but either way it made a sweet picture.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
During my entire childhood and well into my teenage years, I declared that I would someday purchase an old home and renovate it. Never mind the fact that I personally couldn't drive a nail in straight, I was a child and details like that just weren't important. Over the years, my husband and I did renovate an old home. We made good money on the little farm when we had to sell it. In many ways, it is still one of my favorite homes that we have ever lived in even though the ceilings were low and the floors were anything but level.
This brings me to Saturday...a friend called and asked if I would go with her to look at an old country store that is for sale right around the corner. Michael and I went and met her and her husband with their real estate agent. The store was nice, and those same feelings that I had as a child bubbled up in me a bit. However, now I KNOW the work that it takes to pull off a renovation so I kept it in check. Then came the other place... Across the street up the hill sets an old TB Sanatorium. It was built in 1900 and that was the purpose of the building. After the hospital closed, it was turned into a girls' dormitory and eventually purchased by a family that made it their home. The mother of that family died recently. She was in her 90s, and she was still living in the home. This summer the farm around it was auctioned off, and the home was put up for sale.
I walk past this home everyday that I exercise. I glance up high on the hill and wonder what it would have been like in its prime. It is a long shotgun type structure with a front porch that is really larger than it seems next to the giant of a house. I have always wanted to see the inside, and my friend had already inquired about it with the real estate agent. We ascended the big hill and opened the large back door. Quite honestly I wasn't ready for the feelings that rushed into my stomach the minute I walked through the door. I felt like that same little girl standing in my grandmother's barn so desperately wanting to make this place beautiful once again. It took my breath away, and I found myself giddy with excitement. I kept calling my husband to look at one thing after another. The doors are absolutely beautiful with the wood and the handles in top condition. I just stood and looked at the doors for the longest time. I took pictures of some of the furniture left in the home. I would love my husband to reproduce some of them for our home. I left the house with imaginations running wild, but I returned home to my comfort filled home and quickly forgot about renovating anything. Apparently my husband had not forgotten because he shared his thoughts with our three older children. Our oldest two sons are on a mission now to get us to purchase this building and turn it into a home. I think it comes from the fact that all of our 4 boys have always shared a room together!!!
I will have to keep you posted, but for now I am content with what I have. I now know all that goes into fixing an old building and it isn't the romantic notion that it was when I was 6 years old.
grace and peace,
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Saturday, December 01, 2007
I have come to realize that brothers are fun now. This took me several years of revelation. When my middle brother got married, I was only 14. His wife became the sister that I had longed for my entire life. The only dilemma was that he had just joined the Air Force so they moved away from our hometown. He now lives close by the same town that we grew up in, and after the Thanksgiving week at our house I called his wife. They were not able to come and celebrate Thanksgiving with us due to work schedules. I called and lovingly suggested that they host family Christmas this year because I was a bit tired. My sister in law was thrilled at the suggestion. My mother was happy too because she was tired of traveling to Tennessee. Everybody was happy.
We will be visiting them sometime in December to celebrate Christmas with my family and then we will celebrate Christmas with Michael's family. Our families live about 5 minutes away from one another. All we have to do is drive. We haven't been back there for a holiday since my Dad died...so we have missed the last 2 years of celebrations. Our children are excited to see everybody. We will be back home to celebrate our Christmas in our own home with our children. I am looking forward to that as a low key celebration. There is something nice about opening gifts with children while you are still in your pajamas instead of rushing around making sure that the huge dinner is on tract.
My oldest brother will not be attending our Christmas in Ky event. It is too far for him to drive with his work schedule requiring him to be back home quickly. I understand, but I still will miss him. I am thankful for the time spent with him on Thanksgiving. I am also looking forward to this time with my other brother and his family. You see...brothers are FUN once you have grown up to appreciate them...or maybe it is once they have grown up to appreciate you....
grace and peace,