Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Homestead Happenings

 Spring is always a fun time of year, I think. So much new life and so much fun work to do. Here are a few glimpses of the last couple weeks around our homestead...
New Baby Chicks. We bought 20 more layers and when they get big enough we will butcher our current layers for stew meat.
 The bees seem pretty healthy and happy and the crab apple tree next to them does as well.

 Ken tilled my garden for me a week and a half ago.
 My peonies are doing great this year and I am very excited about their upcoming blooming!
 Megan and I cleaned out the garden shed and then she decided to paint it as well. We were getting a place ready in it for our cat that is going to have kittens any time. Megan made a very cute maternity ward. Hopefully she uses it. Funny story on the Cat. We were told it was a male and named it Mr. Belo but have since figured out it was a girl and not just a girl but a pregnant one. He name is now Muriel Hubbard aka Mother Hubbard.
 I love Forget-me-nots!
 We have enjoyed harvesting rhubarb and making a delicious rhubarb custard cheesecake type of dessert. The whole family loved it.
 This chicken and it's mates are on their 3 or 4th summer now.

 I bought and planted 3 new apple trees which is rather exciting.
 This year has been the best one yet for having lots of perennials come back. It is so fun to see my herbs and flower gardens look beautiful. The picture above shows my Wormwood plant and a marchmallow.
Ken has been working to finish our sprinkler system which will use river water. It will work on the yard as well as the garden. He also is making a hydrant to use up by the animals and garden. It will be exciting to get it done.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Learning to Listen More - something needed in this world right now

  My heart is aching so bad as I see the grief, anger, loss and frustration in our country right now. I know that there is nothing that I alone can do to fix it but I do know Someone who can. If each of us would just work each day to be a little more like Jesus, love a little more like He did, and encourage others to do that too our world would be a better place for everyone.

   As a "white" person I have naturally cannot really understand what life is like for a person of color. I can go off of what I see but since I am not with them day in and day out that would not be the whole picture. So, I was reminded that one of the best things to do is simply to listen. Hear their story and try to understand. It is something I have tried to do but it is something that I want to still get much better at.

   One way that we can listen is to read books. As a teen I read the book "Black Like Me" which though written by a "White" man, he made himself "Black" for a while and then learned from experience what it was like to walk around as a black man. I found it quite moving and eye-opening. 

 I would also suggest reading aloud some books on this subject with your kids and discussing them, or encourage them to read them.
 One book that Megan and I each read this year is "Warriors Don't Cry" a very moving true story about school integration in Little Rock. I would not encourage this one for small children. 

The book series that I am currently reading aloud to the kids (interestingly we had started it before all of the current explosive events) is one by Mildren D. Taylor and the books are titled: "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry", "Let the Circle Be Unbroken" and "The Road to Memphis". These books are historical fiction.

All of those books are based on history that was in the mid 1900's. So I had always hoped that things were far different now - and in some ways and places they truly are. But after hearing from friends in Colored families currently I realize that there is still a lot more of the hard stuff going on then we would like to think.

 Another book that I recommend for reading is "Same Kind of Different As Me". It has also been made into a movie but I haven't seen it. This one is more current and still quite disturbing but also wonderful as you see how God can change lives.

Something that I plan to continue to do is to befriend any that come across my path - no matter their color - but I do also want to listen a little better, ask a few more questions and try to better understand what life is like for others. And truly this listening should not just be reserved for people that look differently from me. Everybody has a story. Everybody has been through hard things that affect their current life. All need God's love.

So now, I think I had better be quiet and do some listening...

But quickly,  since we were on the topic of people of different colors, I couldn't resist sharing some pictures we recently took when we were able to see my sister Anna's family...
Aren't these two adorable in pink!?
You should see this guy (who is not yet 3!) ride a bike. He is fast and can ride for miles.

   May God Bless You All! 

Friday, May 29, 2020

Alone Yet Not Alone- Our Recent Music Video

  Jonathan recently filmed Debora, Megan and I singing "Alone Yet Not Alone" written by Bruce Broughton and Dennis Spiegel. I learned this song back in 2015 when I was asked to review a movie of the same name (you can find that review here) . I think the song has a great message about knowing that God is always with you (when you are following Him) and that He gives us strength. 

 It is my hope and prayer that through this time of quarantine that most all of us have recently been through (and maybe still are in) that you have been able to rest in your relationship with Jesus Christ. That you have looked to Him for strength. That your relationship has grown stronger. If you don't have that relationship with Him that gives your joy and strength and fills you with peace - I would love to visit with you about how you can have that. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Nieces and Nephews are Pretty Special

    Last week was a pretty exciting week for our family - My older sister Anna's family had the adoption of their 3 year old daughter and 2 year old son finalized.  I had considered them my niece and nephew for a long time but having it truly finalized is wonderful! They have had each of them since they were around 1 week old.
 The sweet little dark haired ones in the picture above and below are the ones that are now officially part of our lovely big family. We are so glad to have them!
  Not very long ago these cute nephews of mine found out that they are having a baby sister to come join them in September.
 We helped my sister Martha and family move last Monday and these guys were great helpers too.  We kind of cheated a little on the shelter-in-place to help them move but I figured since moving is allowed and hiring movers is allowed that we were their movers (just volunteer ones). It was fun getting together with my two sisters and their families to work on that. And what was really cool is that my sister Martha and family moved from nearly 2 hours away to our town. So now I have more nieces and nephews living in our area! We love it.
 On Sunday mornings we have been doing "Outdoor Activities" while "social distancing" and having a small group meet for church in our yard. It started with just neighbors but then my brother Luke and family started joining us as well. It is so nice to get to see them! I am looking forward to actually holding sweet Beulah again soon but meanwhile we are enjoying laughs and smiles from a  distance. When I took this picture she was wearing a sweater that I had made for her and her hat was made by my niece, Heidi.
   I now have 15 nieces and nephews on my side of the family with one more on the way and we have 7 on Ken's side. We are so blessed!

Saturday, May 2, 2020

What is Your Circumstance Like?

  So, yesterday we found out that our shelter-in-place got extended another two weeks (until May 18th). I will be perfectly honest, that was not easy for me to hear. We have been really trying to follow the shelter-in-place order because I try to follow Romans 13 (along with the rest of the Bible) and I believe that tells me to obey my leaders. Though when it goes against God's directions that is a different story. Also I do think that when we see government going against the Constitution (we are trying to better study our national constitution as well as our state one lately) we should voice that to our leaders.

  Anyway, I have been tempted (and have yielded a few times too) to complain. But honestly, I don't think that is a godly reaction.

  If we read the account of the Israelites leaving Egypt and wandering around in the desert, we see a lot of complaining. God did not like that. He had provided for them and He was going to continue to provide for them but they wanted things their way. 1 Corinthians 10 reminds us of this. The 6th verse says that they were given as examples for us so that we would not crave the evil things that they craved. Verses 9 & 10 say: "Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer." I really don't think that God likes complaining.

"Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain." Philippians 2:14-16

I want to shine like a light for God, I hope you do as well. That is not best done by complaining and grumbling - we can do that instead by following God's word and being thankful.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

That is my challenge to you today... how are you giving thanks within this circumstance of being quarintined?
There are tons of things that I could share that I am thankful for. My life truly is overflowing even though I can't have company the way that I would wish, attend church with everybody, love on my little nieces and nephews or sit around a table with all my extended family - the time will come when I can do that again and meanwhile I do have much to be thankful for! I thought I would share a few things today that I am super thankful for that have come about because of Shelter-in-place:

1. Ken working from home. I love it! It is so fun to have him here for lunch and then I can pop into his office throughout the day or see him when he comes downstairs for a moment.
2. Some extra time for sewing and other projects. Not going nearly so often and not having music students come either has given us more "play" time. Megan has really loved the not so busy life. We have both been sewing but here is a picture of her latest creation....
 A dress from material she got for her birthday.
 Another thing that I had struggled to always find the time for in past years was Maple Syruping. We were able to do that again this year and had a wonderful season and I am so thankful. You can read more about that here. The Mayflowers (Hepatica is the scientific name) in the picture below were found while collecting Maple Sap. I love them!
 3. Extra time with our exchange student, Debora. Because of the Shelter-in-place she has been learning from home rather than going to school. Though that was naturally not what she had anticipated for her Senior year of highschool she has had a great attitude about it and it has allowed for us to spend more time with her and get to know her better.
4. The wealth of Sermons, Music, Classes, Bible Studies and workshops that are available now more than ever before online. Also the time I have had to be able to participate in some of them.

5. The motivation to shop for groceries less and to really go through and use things up in my freezer and pantry.

6. Getting to use up a lot of different sewing/crafting supplies as we made masks to donate and made May Baskets for the nursing home and neighborhood. COVID19 prompted those activities and I loved that fact that I could make something good, help others and also declutter my crafting area.

7. The stirring up in my life that can happen with change that causes me to dig deeper into God's word and spend more time in prayer. 

Also related to COVID19 but not truly because of it I have been feeling more thankful for:
1. Our Health
2. Living in the country and having tons of space to move around outside.
3. Good neighbors that I don't fear going through crazy times with.
4. That I already had in place the plan of storing up for the future and so we didn't/don't have to be concerned about food or toilet paper shortages.

What are you thank-ful for? Is there anything good that you have seen to come out of this situation?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Wild Edibles with Sergei Boutenko | Learn How to Forage for 25 Tasty Plants

I found this quite fun and interesting. It makes me want to go out and do a bunch of foraging. I did actually forage wild nettles for our supper yesterday but that was the first this year (besides foraging for Maple sap). Hopefully I can make a lot of time for wild food foraging this summer.

Another fun part of watching this was having some of my family listening in part of the time behind me and getting very scared that there is going to be wild foods stuffed into every dish I make. It made for a funny evening. It could also prompt some of them to do a little more cooking which wouldn't be a bad thing. :-)

 Do you do any wild food foraging?


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