Monday, December 31, 2007

Out With Resolutions and In With Godly Goals

I am not a New Year's Resolution person. When I was younger, I use to set resolutions every year. I noticed that my resolutions usually where the same every year, and that must mean that I wasn't obtaining the goal. I almost dreaded the New Year because it was another glimpse of failure for me as a person. Being the smart person that I am, I realized that I needed to make a change. I knew God must have more for me to be concerned with than making the same resolution year after year.
I started seeking the Lord concerning this matter, and now instead of resolutions that come and go I take an inventory of where I am at in life and where the Lord would have me to go in the next year. This doesn't happen only on December 31st each year. I spend some time throughout the last week of December pondering these things. Last week as Michael and I were having coffee, he asked me what goals do we want to have for 2008. We break it down in our life. We have goals for the farm, the house, and the business. We also have personal goals as well as spiritual goals. We also look at our children and find areas that we need to address in each of their lives. This is also a great chance for us to celebrate all that the Lord has done in our life over the past year.
Our farm goals are simple this year. First and foremost we want to add a steer to our herd so we can raise our own beef. Michael is wanting to start a flock of sheep for meat also. This will require fence preparations and an additional structure added so that they can keep warm. We also want to enlarge the garden beds with the addition of 5 new beds this year. We are wanting to start a bed of strawberries. We will continue clearing pasture area from our damaged woods. We will also be clearing a spot to add blueberries on our hillside. This sounds like a lot of things to do, but it will be accomplished over the course of a year.
We take the time to write our goals down on paper so we can check to see where we are at throughout the year. I also spend some time on the last day of the year with my journal and the Lord. I write down a quick list of highlights of the year. I write enough to jog my memory when I read it later. I pray and ask the Lord to show me what HE wants of me for the next year. I write it all down so that I have a record. I will also take some time today to look back at what I wrote last year. I can quickly take an inventory to see what we accomplished and what still needs our attention.
This system works so much better for me than New Year's resolutions. Instead of failure, I find that it truly allows a heart of celebration for all that the Lord has done in our life. Usually on New Years Eve, our family plays games and then around 11:00p.m. we turn on some worship music. We take the next hour and have a time of family worship, and to ring in the new year we take communion together as a family. This is one of our sweetest times as a family.
grace and peace,

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Day and Holiday Come to an End

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

December Moments

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

Happy Birthday Chicken Jake

We are celebrating yet another birthday in our home. Jacob is our 3rd son, and as you can tell by the picture he is always up to something! Here he is in the top of a pine tree smiling from limb to limb. Jacob is our son that is always eager to do farm chores. He became known as Chicken Jake in our home because he is so good with our chickens. Tnfarmgirl gave Jacob some chickens about 6 years ago, and that was the beginning of his animal care. He is always watchful for things going wrong with the animals, and he is usually more than helpful to fix any problem concerning the animals. He feeds our animals so often that they all follow him constantly. When our calf was first born, Jacob was the only one who could get near her and her Momma. He is always wanting to get new animals to add to our farm. He is usually the first to offer his Dad help in any area of the farm. I think the whole farm thing just comes natural for Jacob. I don't think he sees it as a chore (most of the time), but instead he truly enjoys it.
grace and peace,

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Saying Good Bye to Henny Penny

Yesterday I was making my bed when I glanced out the window. I noticed that our "Chicken Jake" was outside trying to catch something that looked a bit like a crane. I called Michael over to ask him what in the world was HIS son trying to do. I was on the verge of opening the window to scold Jacob for not being where he was suppose to be. At that moment, we saw Jacob run from the "crane" with a large rock in is hand. He was heading back up to the house to ask a question. Michael quickly opened the window and told Jacob to throw the rock hard at the crane. Jacob is a wonderful baseball player, and he used his skills quite well to hit the "crane". I was still confused at this point. (I am a bit slower at identifying birds and animals. I spent the first 6 months of my life in Tennessee thinking that guineas were turkeys. You can imagine my husband's laughter when I announced that it would be good turkey hunting in our neighbor's flock of guineas!) When the "crane" flew away, I saw our Henny Penny chicken on the ground not moving. Our chickens will often play dead when there is a threat. I have seen many a "dead" chicken get up and walk away. I yelled through the screen and asked Jacob if she was playing dead. He shook his head and said, "I don't think so. Her head seems to be missing". The "crane" was actually a hawk that decided we had a nice chicken buffet running around in our yard.

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 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

Holiday Baking

Our home has recently been filled with holiday baking. We have made sugar cookies and several various other cookies galore. We always share some of our baked goods with our neighbors as a Merry Christmas Blessing. The kids also decorated gingerbread houses which was an afternoon of great fun for them. My intent was to post pictures of their creations, but the dog ate it. (This is no JOKE. She climbed up on the office window sill and pulled the house down).

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

Blogging with a Purpose Award

Yesterday I received a nice surprise that didn't involve the pigs getting out of their pen. I checked email and Tnfarmgirl had left me a note to check out her blog. I quickly did just that, and she had given Michael and I a blog award.

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

The Great Pig Escape AGAIN

Upon returning home from my 3 mile walk, I was greeted by our horse. As I was standing loving on him, I saw the pigs had once again managed to get into our pasture. I was already tired from exercising, but I knew what had to be done. I sounded the alarm to the children, called my husband at work, and we quickly manned our posts to return the pigs to their proper area. It took us just a little over an hour and a half this time around to return the 4 little pigs back into their home. One of the pigs is too fat to get through the holes. My goal for the remainder of this year and early next year is to fatten up the other three pigs!! I do know one thing that will be on our family's chore list for the weekend...installing electric fence around the pig pen. I am tired of chasing the little oinkers!!!

grace and peace,

Monday, December 10, 2007

Weekend Happenings

The weather was perfect this weekend. It was misty and there was a chill in the air. At times, it was down right cold. Our children have been sick with a stomach bug throughout last week, and I haven't been outside as much as I would have liked. On Saturday morning, Michael decided that it was a great day to start our woods clean up project. This project is one that will take many years to see through completion. We own 17 acres of land, and probably about 10 acres of it is in woods. This would be wonderful if the trees were in good shape. Our trees had been damaged by Pine Beetles several years ago. Some of the pines are so bad that if there is a slight breeze blowing we will not let our children in the woods at all. We hear trees crashing down often in the woods. We had a forest ranger come out and look at our forest to help us know how to manage it better. His advice was to get rid of the pine trees. He spent a lot of time educating us in forest management.
Hope and I packed a picnic and we headed out to the woods on our property. Michael cut down trees and we spent the day burning them. We have waited to have any burns on our property all year long due to the severe drought. We were so cautious because we didn't want any fire getting out of control. We made sure to keep the fire small which made the actual job of burning trees go much slower. We had such a relaxing day out there. We all worked, but there was time for play as well. The children climbed and played in a tree that is close to our pasture. It was so good for me to get outside after being stuck in the house doing laundry all of last week. We only made a small dent in the work that still must be done, but it was very rewarding to see what was accomplished. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day on our farm.
grace and peace,

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Best Laid Plans of Pigs and Men

The day started out wonderful. I was on track to have the entire house cleaned by the afternoon. I had decided that since things were going so well according to my plans that I would sit and read with each child. Jacob had asked me first to read with him. I had just sat down in our almost clean living room. It was nice to enjoy the Christmas tree and the room with everything in its place. Before we started reading, I remembered that I had sweet potatoes on cooking and I needed to turn off the stove. I went into the kitchen to do that task and I glanced out the window. I was looking at nothing in particular, and that is when I saw the issue. All four of our pigs were in the cow pasture which is open to all 17 acres of our farm. I sounded the alarm and each and every child available responded to the call. My husband and older boys were gone that day. How did the pigs know to plan that one? I quickly looked in my frig for any leftovers that the pigs might come for, but it was clean. I grabbed the sweet potatoes that I had just cooked for my casserole and ran out the door. We started to try to lure the pigs back into the pen. Jacob was laughing and said that I needed the camera because we had every animal on the place after us with our buckets of feed, but NO pigs. I told Hope to start feeding all the other animals in their usual places to keep them out of my hair. Whenever an animal other than a pig came my way, I yelled at Hope to give them more feed. I chased, I gently talked, I yelled, I led and quickly learned I needed to follow instead...this went on for an hour and a half. I ran up and down a steep hill so many times that I was gasping for air. The little pigs led me to the bee hives. You know I hate the bees, and I swore I wouldn't go by them again. I am the one that gets stung even in the winter. I found myself standing right beside the hives, and I was anything but happy. I called Michael at work to let him know his entire herd of pigs were heading for the hills. He told me what to do to catch had ALL already been done. (I had even opened the basement door when they were headed that way hoping they would just walk right into our basement. I had opened the front door when the little darlings were on our front porch. I was inviting them into our clean living room. You know I was REALLY tired of chasing them by this point if I was trying to herd them into our home). I told Michael to wait and I would try again. We did manage to get the little darlings back into their pen. I quickly started repairs on the spot that I thought they had escaped. While I was watering the chickens, I looked back at the barn and every last pig was out again. My breathing hadn't returned to normal yet, and I was going to have to chase again!! I went into the house and called Michael. He informed me that he was almost home. (This made me feel so special. My husband knew I was having trouble and without being asked he came home from work to help me. I know he wanted the pigs back home, but I also know he did it because I was getting frustrated with the entire situation. This gift of love was way better than roses at the time)! After another hour of chasing, we had the pigs contained. All together I spent 3 hours of that day chasing pork around our farm...that was NOT at all in my plans. Needless to say, the house cleaning never was finished that day. I was tired and decided it didn't really matter if all the chores were completed. It could wait for tomorrow when I would have a new set of plans.

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

A Little Under the Weather

Several of our children have been dealing with a stomach bug. Seth had not been feeling well, and he left his blanket and pillow in the floor. It appears he left it on purpose so Missy could enjoy some down time. He must have thought she looked cold so he made sure to cover her up all snugly.
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.

This is the same day, but much later in the day. Seth told me that Missy made him feel much better. I think he just likes her being close by.
I spent much of my day that particular day holding Seth. He was content to let Missy snuggle him when I was unavailable. If I had to do it over again, I would have named her differently. I wish we had named her Nanna instead of Missy. Nanna would be more suitable because she acts as a nanny to our little guy. I believe pets are a valuable part of a child's growing up years. I am thankful that we have a home that can support a pet. I fuss a lot about Missy's hair getting onto our things. I spend countless hours vacuuming her hair from the floor. However, seeing pictures like this make me realize that a little hair is a small price to pay for a loving companion for our children.
grace and peace,

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas Memories Being Made

Our tree turned out beautiful this year. This photo does not capture the beauty of the tree, but perhaps that is because it can't possibly capture the memories that go into the tree each year. There are many ornaments on our tree that just doesn't flash, but they hold special places in our heart so they will remain. One of my most treasured ornaments got broken this year when Hope was hanging it on the tree. It wasn't her fault, it was truly mine. I knew it wasn't anchored correctly on the hook, but I didn't know how to fix it. The ornament was a glass antique ornament that had been on my parent's first Christmas tree. It was down right ugly, but it had hung on my childhood trees all of my life. When it crashed to the floor, I was saddened, but not heartbroken. I knew better than to try to use a makeshift hook, but I didn't take the time to find the correct solution for the problem. Hope was horrified, but I didn't catch it at first. Shortly I glanced at my rocking chair, and I found her with tears in her eyes. I smiled and told her the mishap wasn't her fault. I don't think she believed me at first. I asked her to come hang another special ornament for me, and that was the key to her smile coming back upon her face. She knew I trusted her. I knew I had done the God thing that she needed in her life at just that moment.
It was hard to smile at her when I saw the broken ornament. My first inclination was to fuss at her. After all, I had warned her to be careful. I chose the better path. Perhaps it came because just the week before I failed in this same test miserably. I had a small shelf of Precious Moments figurines in my kitchen. These were gifts that people had purchased for me over the years. They were special because people had thoughtfully chosen ones that reminded them of me...a momma rocking a baby, a momma holding a child...well you get the point. Our second son and our little guy were playing in the living room on the love seat. The oldest was tickling the little guy, and the little guy's head hit the wall. This is the wall that divides the kitchen and the living room. Then we heard a series of crashes, and sounds of broken glass filled the air. I was angry. I didn't want to look in there, but I knew I had to. I said things I now regret. Things that sting hearts of children. Things that cause a 14 year old to come back with red swollen eyes. Things that were harsh. Things like "I can't have anything valuable in this house. It always gets broken!" In the midst of my ramblings, I glanced up on the shelf and I was amazed to see the one Precious Moment that meant so very much to me was still standing on the shelf. I have had this one for almost 20 years. He is a little Navy Sailor standing with his sea bag. This was given to me by my brother's family. Just seeing this Sailor Boy snapped me back to reality...these things are not valuable....they are nothing more than glass. The valuable things are downstairs feeling awful over broken glass. My heart was heavy and it had nothing to do with broken figurines. As I finished the clean up procedure, my children starting coming back to me one by one to offer their apologies. I made sure the 14 year old heard my heart as well as my apologies. I made sure to ask him to forgive me for the things I had said. I wanted him to know he was my valuable thing not man made stuff. He smiled, and I knew it had been made right. My other children also told me they were sorry my things had been broken. I assured them it was just stuff that really didn't matter. My soon to be 11 year old came in to tell me that he would buy me a new one with his soon to be birthday money. I smiled from deep within, and hugged him tight. I assured him that he and his siblings were my real precious moments and I didn't need any others.
Even in the midst of an angry outburst, God still whispers into my ear. I have a choice to make. Will I do it His way or my own way? I am faced with these choices many times throughout my day. Sometimes I fail and sometimes I have victory. I am growing each and everyday in Him as I walk this journey called life. I just want my children to know that they are my precious moments and they are truly my treasures in my life. Thank God that His mercies are new every morning just as the Word says.
grace and peace,

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Christmas Ornaments

Here are just a few pictures of my favorite ornaments on our tree. When we lived in Florida, we had a very limited money supply. There just wasn't enough money to spend on tree ornaments. At that time my husband ran a cabinet shop so we had tools and plenty of wood. He decided to make ornaments for our tree. We took cookie cutters and drew the pattern on the wood. He then used a ban saw to cut them out. Our children sanded them to perfection, and then we painted the ornaments. Each child helped us paint, and they really enjoyed the project. Michael drilled a small hole at the top so that we could tie a small ribbon in the ornament. We made a stocking ornament for each person in our family. Our last child wasn't born until we moved to Tennessee. This year he realized that he didn't have a "sock" on the tree. I was desperate and didn't have any paint or extra stocking ornaments. I took a permanent marker and wrote his name in black on a bell ornament. For this year, it made him happy. I also had to purchase glitter and actually write his name in glitter on his real stocking. He was unhappy to see his stocking didn't have his name. He also realized he wasn't in the family picture that I have in our living room. This didn't make him happy either. I can purchase glitter and write his name on a stocking much easier than I can coordinate a family picture! I am sure we will have to have a new family picture made soon. One word of advice if you choose to make the wooden ornaments, paint both sides. It is frustrating when they get turned around on the Christmas tree and you are looking at unpainted wood instead of the pretty painted front!
grace and peace,
grace and peace,

Monday, December 03, 2007

Old Buildings and Thoughts

Every since I was a little girl I have loved being around old things. I can remember being about 5 or 6 when I was looking through my grandmother's barn. There were so many old treasures that I LONGED for as a child. I remember putting my hand on old furniture thinking of all the beauty that could be there. I remember holding up jars and begging my mother to let me take them home. My father did take the jars for me along with an old butter churn. He kept them for me until I had my own home to place them in. Words are not part of my vocabulary to express how I felt as a child looking at all of the old antiques and wishing I could make them beautiful once again.

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

Sunday Scripture

"The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Brothers are Fun...sometimes

Here is a picture of me with my oldest brother. He is the one that came to visit us this Thanksgiving holiday. I will see my other brother and his family in December, but it will be at his house instead of ours. Growing up I never really appreciated having brothers. I always wanted a sister, and to tell you the truth I felt a bit slighted because a baby girl never appeared in our household. I was always very close to my oldest brother. Since I have been married, he has never forgot to call me on my birthday...even though I forgot to call him once. I think that is pretty good for 20 years of birthdays!

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 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,