Category Archives: Life

When God has another plan…

My favorite CD lately is one by Susan McGill of Victorious Valley, titled Songs in the Night. On it she sings a song by the Greenes called “When God Has Another Plan”…and many others that just minister to the loss we all experience in life. Whatever you’ve lost–loved ones, a dream for the future, your idea of perfection–remember God asks us to trust him so that he can work his perfect will in us. We might never understand why the “plans” we have change, but we must trust that God knows best…and his ways are not our ways.

His ways are SO. MUCH. BETTER. You can trust that. Even when it’s awful, doesn’t make sense, hurts like all get out…even when it might not make sense till Heaven. Trust Him to take the hard things and make something beautiful out of them.

I couldn’t find a youtube of Susan singing this, so here it is by the Greenes with the lyrics below. I hope it reaches you where you’re hurting with the reminder that our lives are in good hands. Come what may, walk on with the Lord and just say yes, Lord, not my will but Thine be done….

When God has another plan
Forsaken by his brothers didn’t fit the scene..
Being made a slave, was not what Joseph dreamed…
The coat of many colors was stained with blood and lies
But from this divine appointment, a ruler would arise
When God has another plan – walk on and just say yes
When God has another plan – be assured that He knows best
If all your dreams are shattered, rest in His sufficient grace
We don’t have to understand – when God has another plan.
Alone and broken hearted, questions fill your mind
Changes can be hard, but come by God’s design,
But if you could see tomorrow, with a view from Heaven’s throne,
Every unexpected struggle, has led you closer home.
When God has another plan – walk on and just say yes…………
If all your dreams are shattered, rest in His sufficient grace,
We don’t have to understand – when God has another plan.

Overcoming emotional hurts with Christ’s help

I often get letters, behind scenes, expressing great anguish and crippling turmoil over familial hurts that seem insurmountable and are accompanied by pleas for help. I just wanted to answer this one publicly and with virtual hugs. It’s okay. Jesus understands. And you are not alone. Here’s my story.

First, I want to tell you, I understand. I understand the being overwhelmed, the agony, the injustice, the “no one can understand and possibly everyone things I’m over-reacting”. The not being able, much less willing, to put yourself out as a target when those “archers” responsible are in the same vicinity! I felt the same emotional turmoil for years, whenever I was around a certain someone. Those were hard but growing years. I’m so thankful for a godly mother’s counsel, and her strong shoulder on which I cried many times.

Like you, survival meant keeping a distance and meantime in the civil distance, with much prayer and a lot of maturity in both the other person and myself, I have been able to put the hurtful things that happened behind me. I NEVER thought I’d be able to be around that person with my guard down, but happily I am. I pray that over time and with God’s healing between you and this other person, total renewal (love, forgiveness, trust) will be gained. Until then, you are wise to listen to your loving heavenly Father and protect your fragility, build yourself up in the confidence and strength that comes from the Lord.

1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:”

2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”

Our heavenly Father will equip you. Perfect love casts out fear! Pray that Jesus will give you an overwhelming love–unconditional with no past recriminations hovering–for this person. A love that will cover their human failings toward you.If you are like me, you will have many kneeling-before-the-throne sessions, weeping, praying for the burden to leave. But the joy isn’t in the burden leaving, as much as it is in surviving it by God’s grace and coming out on the other side scathed, but healed, and enabled to help spread the message of hope that you’ve experienced firsthand.

The Lord gave me that for my situation. I wanted to bawl for joy when he crushed that last wall I’d built for my sanity and protection, and let me just feel love and compassion for the one that had hurt me so, with no history tainting it WHATSOEVER. I even cleared the air with them, and apologized for my part in the problem, not hinting at anything they might have done. It is so over–and I am free and so incredibly thankful to have that horrible, crippling angst of a burden rolled off my heart. To be able to be around them with no hurts between us any more is a MIRACLE! He is faithful so just keep hounding the Lord for peace and healing on this–even if your loved one never changes–I believe you will get to the point of having a Jesus-love for him or her that can see past their faults and sins and even let this unfair treatment of you and hurtful words roll off of you because you are SO bathed in Jesus’ affirmation and love, blood-covered and GRACED out, that you’ll hurt more for this other person than yourself when those darts hit their mark.

Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

But, in the meantime, do keep your distance so you can focus on healing and commit to pray hard for this perfect work. I can’t explain how all my hurts, anger, insecurities, jealousies over the injustice of it all (false rumors, etc.) were completely vanquished and it wasn’t overnight…but it definitely happened and it was all Jesus. I think of this person now with so much love, sometimes with tears as I pray for their precious family. What a blessing!

Having read all of that, I hope you get a message of HOPE and can see that I’m not judging, because I’ve been there. Perhaps I didn’t have as much to forgive in my situation, as you do in yours, but Jesus can handle it.

Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”

Psalm 27:1, “The  LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

The blessing of total forgiveness is that forgiveness will come much easier for you down the road when others hurt you. The more like Christ we become, the more dead we become to self, and “dead people” don’t get offended or hold bitterness or grudges. I would much rather be dead to “self” and alive to Christ. For more on this, you may want to read my Dying to Self series. For now I’ll leave you with Galatians 2:20,

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

God bless you and heal you as you seek His ways in all you do…

Spring Adventures

Watering canIt’s feeling a lot like spring outside! And it’s been a long while coming, hasn’t it? I had my hands in garden dirt today, helping our local CSA farm plant 1,000 broccoli and cauliflower plants–perfect afternoon project for four families to tackle, made easier by many hands and a nifty transplanter implement new to the farm. I think I may have gotten a wee bit of a sunburn today–and some good ole-fashioned Vitamin D, while I was at it!

Baby chicks moved in last week–37 of them to be exact. The morning they arrived, we also had our 4 calves escape their pen, and a baby goat that needed warmed by our fire and bottle fed every 2 hours for a couple of days. Yep, spring has sprung.

Last night we offloaded 400 cattle from 4 semi trucks, and then herded them by horseback to a neighboring pasture…at dusk. My husband and I, our 3 daughters, and 3 cattle dogs. By the time we headed back to the horse trailer we could barely see each other on our bay and roan horses. We’ve ridden in the dark before, to the tune of 3:30 A.M. but never at night–we can’t wait till next time! Oh, and the chocolate rice krispy treats my oldest made for the truck ride over to this adventure rounded out the fun, not to mention how the girls baled onto the pick-up bed for the ride home. Happy!

Got my pansies planted just now, homemade noodles ready to roll out for supper…should I pop open a quart jar of home-canned turkey or beef to add in with gravy? Hmmm.

Now if our milk cows would only calve soon, we’d be in milk again. The laying hens are giving me 15-20 eggs a day. I’m telling you, THIS is living. Fresh air and SUNSHINE, greening grass and trees, flowers, loamy dirt to fill with veggie transplants, baby critters, girls on horseback, real food at the end of a long day’s work. I’m thinking I don’t deserve to have it so good. Thank you, Lord, for your abundant blessings!

How’s your spring shaping up?

 

Miracle on New Year’s Eve 2012

My husband and I were up at the barn milking the cows when it happened. Screams, distant enough that I shoved my hood back and strained to distinguish whether or not they were in fun or in terror. I’d just been watering the livestock at the back of the dairy barn, humming “Let it Snow,” thinking what a gorgeous adventure I was having, helping the love of my life milk ye old cows, tromping through 3 inches of white stuff, and just loving the calm still of a snowflaked world on New Year’s Eve. Inside the house, a table piled with our favorite finger foods awaited us, special movies hand picked for bringing in the New Year, and a roaring fire in the fire place. Life just didn’t get better than this.

Until my heart stilled at the sounds of all three of my girls screaming for help. My husband jumped away from Gertie, our Jersey-Guernsey cow that he was finishing up, and asked me if something was wrong out there. I was still in denial, hoping there wasn’t.

“I think they are just playing…I shut the chickens in early tonight, so they let Guiney out to romp in the snow a bit.” I hurried through the barn, heading for the door that was nearest the commotion.  Guiney is our female Australian Shepherd, my 12 year old’s special pet, a great dog…but one with an affinity for eating my laying hens. We dare not let them out at the same time.

When I reached the big sliding south door of our dairy barn, all doubt as to the seriousness of the situation vanished. My 8 year old was hysterical, hardly able to talk she was wailing so loudly. “Mommy! Daddy!” her screams were punctuated with chest-shuddering sobs, “Guiney’s head is caught in a trap, she’s going to die, come quick!”

My husband took off running, I’ve never seen him fly over the snow so fast. Later we looked at his boot prints…all a good four feet apart. Down the long hill, past our horse pens, around the fledgling fruit trees we planted last year, and across the small pasture where we keep our broiler pens…I prayed he’d make it in time. Adrenaline pumping, I hurried to free the dairy cows from their stanchions and turned them back into their part of the barn where they could munch alfalfa and not get into trouble. I hurried to my youngest, still wailing as if her heart had broken into a million pieces, bent over in the snow, rocking and praying to God to please please save Guiney.

My own emotions were threatening to pull me under. This couldn’t be happening. If only the girls had asked before letting Guiney out. But how could they know that there was a trap set down by the field pens, set to catch the elusive critter that’s been after the chickens here of late? I hugged my youngest close and we prayed together, loud desperate pleas to the only One who could work the miracle needed a quarter mile away.

Youngest didn’t want to go near the scene, she just knew Guiney was dead, and couldn’t bear to have it confirmed. I sent my delirious little sweetheart trudging forlornly to the house, and headed down to the rest of my family. When I got within view, my hubby was heading back this way…I hollered down to him, thinking he might need something and I could save him some steps. He gestured with his hands in a way that I thought meant, “She’s gone. She died. It’s over.” The tears I’d been fighting rushed out, my rip-tide of emotions finally collapsing when all hope was gone. But then I saw Guiney, up and walking around, a ghost of a dog…as if nothing had happened. What?

I immediately thought of my little one, who had just gone into the back porch. I turned back and hollered, “She’s alive!” I had to yell it several times.

She stumbled out, in disbelief, a little nymph all bundled up in coveralls and her red “rooster” ski hood that covered her face with eye-and-mouth holes. “She’s alive?”

We were both so broken up with relief, and tears flowing, that we could hardly communicate. We hugged, our first thought after the relief was that God had graciously answered our fervent pleas. Then we headed down the snow-capped driveway to the rest of the family and Guiney-the-wonder-dog met us. Has any dog ever been so lavished with love as this precious blue-merle Aussie? I hugged and hugged my second-born daughter, Guiney’s owner, and we thanked God over and over for saving her doggie.

My oldest told me the story. She’d seen the killer trap snap around Guiney’s neck. Guiney died in her arms, having first passed out from lack of oxygen. When my husband got there, he pried open the trap with his bare hands, usually not possible. Part of the miracle. He confirmed that Guiney was dead. But not one to give up easily, he decided to breathe into her nose and work on her heart. Minutes crept by. He kept breathing for her, but her eyes were rolled back, and she should have gulped in air the minute he’d gotten the trap off. He sat her up against his chest and moved her around, hoping to stimulate things. The girls were standing a little ways away, praying, hoping against hope, and hearing their daddy pray out loud  in between breathing for our dog. He was about to call it quits, when Guiney’s eyes moved slightly.

The girls were just sure it was all over. All they knew was that their daddy had gotten quiet. But when they heard him say, “Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord!” they looked at each other in amazement. Could it be possible? Guiney moved a bit gingerly, but soon was up walking around. By the time youngest and I got mid-way down the driveway, Guiney was jogging to us, as if nothing was wrong. Not a dot of blood even smeared her lovely white collar.

Tonight we have much to be thankful for…we’ll always remember the miracle on New Year’s Eve 2012, when God raised our dog from the dead. This is the kind of faith lesson that will loom over all of us in future hard times, a monument to a mighty God who sees each sparrow, and dog, that falls, and who holds all of our lives in His hands.

What does the Bible say about Cremation? Part 3

This has been an interesting topic indeed! Please read all three posts, but especially this disclaimer posted in Part 1:

Now don’t take this wrong. I realize state laws vary regarding our options when a loved one dies. And you might have chosen the cremation route for economical reasons, this is not in judgement of anyone’s decisions whatsoever. It is our soul and spirit that go on to heaven, or hell, not our body…and many saints have been burned at the stake or died in house fires or explosions. This is not about the body being gone, or unable to be resurrected on the day Jesus returns…this issue is merely, does God have anything to say about how we treat the bodies of our dead?

If you’ve read all three parts, then you know from Part 2, that I’ve formed a conclusion, that biblically, God wants us to honor the bodies of our loved ones when they die, and that in His economy, cremation is not honorable. Is it a sin? Well, I’m not here to say it is. I do know we are under grace, not law, and the more we study God’s word, the more He reveals to us of truth. The irony of this conversation is, what a way to be even more separate from the world, not only in the way we live, but in the way we deal with death.

In Part 1, I shared how my personal “death horror” was related to the embalming process. I didn’t want to have *that* done to my body, dead or alive! So cremation seemed a fairly innocent option. Well, certain things in the Bible (Old Testament law, and yes, I know we’re under grace) point against mutilation of the body…to me, embalming qualifies as mutilation. Definitively! Again, I’m not God, and I’m not saying embalming is or isn’t a sin. (I can see the comment section now–eek!) But it’s an option I’m not comfortable with.

So we were given a link to a resource guide to Home Funeral Care which seems right now, to be the answer for our family. I realize it’s not the path most people in modern society take…but it is the way of old, the preparing of a dead loved one’s body for burial. Remember the book passages I shared in Part 1, of how this can be a sacred offering, an act of reverencing and honoring a life, perhaps highly therapeutic in the grieving process.

I realize for this to work, one’s entire family has to be “with the program.” And that’s as it should be. My family’s conviction needn’t be yours. When it comes to burial decisions of grandparents, or parents, the decisions are often not ours to make. But it is a good topic to discuss before the fact, between husbands and wives, concerning their personal wishes, and in light of the loss of a child.

To make a more informed decision, be sure to check out the following:

Our state laws require embalming unless burial takes place within 24 hours of death, or if the body is kept on dry ice. Many states also permit burial of family members on their own rural property. These things are good to know ahead of time. There are also quite a number of wooden casket companies available online, that provide caskets quite affordably. Some even ship flat for storage in the garage rafters perhaps, for the family to assemble together when needed–another rite of passage experience in the grieving and letting-go process. Some coffins even double as bookshelves, coffee tables and entertainment centers until they need to be used. Here are a few casket companies to check out:

Summing this topic up…

Don’t let the idea of home burials turn you off. They really are growing in popularity, mainly because you’re looking at an option that might cost you $250 max, compared to $6000-15,000 if you go the funeral home route.  The monetary savings isn’t what sold us though. We read several precious testimonials of those that prepared their loved one’s body, and were blessed by the healing it brought to the grieving process. Why not have a simple funeral service, on your own property if state laws allow, followed by a larger memorial service for the public at large if you so desire?

More important than these to the Christian, is to weigh our own convictions and ask prayerfully as we seek for truth in God’s word: What would the Lord have us do? Scripture says it best, As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

What that looks like for you and yours, is between you and God!

What does the Bible say about Cremation? Part 2

It seems to me that here in the USA we are in denial when it comes to dealing with death. We prepare for the births of our children, we prepare for their educational years, we save for retirement…and some people do pre-pay and plan out their funerals, and take out life insurance policies on their spouses. But when it comes to final decisions regarding cremation or burial, we might be making them too blithely, without wanting to give much thought to particulars–without consulting God’s word for answers.

So a couple of weeks ago, our Sunday evening Bible study veered into the topic of death when we were studying the life of Joseph, and his father Jacob, in Genesis 47:29-30, was emphasizing his desire that his body be returned to be buried in the land of his fathers. Suddenly we were all discussing this matter of Christian burial, and wanting to know if cremation was a biblical option. Our pastor decided we’d devote a couple of Sunday evening classes to the topic, and here I am, to share my notes.

First a couple of passages stand out to me:

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

Jeremiah 10:2, “Learn not the way of the heathen.”

Burning dead bodies has long been a heathen practice. Take India for example. We learned that cremation is centuries old in India. Did you know that Christians in India do not want to be associated with the heathens, and so they try to avoid cremating their loved ones when they die? Interesting.

Romans 15:4 tells us that the things written “aforetime were written for our learning“. In the Old Testament, in Genesis, we are given m.a.n.y. accounts of the deaths and burials of God’s people…so it seems we are given the scriptural example that burial is His way. Even in the New Testament we see Stephen, the first martyr, carried to his burial. Conversely, we see God using fire as punishment, as a way of showing forth His wrath.

  • He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire
  • When Aaron’s sons offered “strange fire” to the Lord, He sent a fire to consume their bodies
  • Korah’s group was swallowed up by the ground and immediately after God sent fire to burn up 250 men that were there offering incense
  • Idols were to be burned and destroyed
  • Achan and his family and livestock were stoned and then burned

But Amos 2:1-2 was the most convincing for me…

Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime:

But I will send a fire upon Moab, and it shall devour the palaces of Kerioth: and Moab shall die with tumult, with shouting, [and] with the sound of the trumpet:

Keep in mind, this is a PAGAN nation that *transgressed* by burning the bones of the King of Edom into lime! This pagan nation reaped bigtime punishment for what we Christians are ceasing to think twice about doing to our loved ones after death.

We reason it away though. We think, cremation is affordable. It’s sanitary. It’s just their body, not their soul or spirit. It’s easy. Our pastor pointed to Joseph’s bones…wouldn’t it have been easier to burn them rather than keep track of them for the 400 years the Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt, not to mention the hassle of carrying them around with them for 40 years of wandering in the wilderness before finally getting to put them to rest in the promised land? It kind of makes you think, doesn’t it? Why weren’t the Civil War soldiers’ bodies heaped in a big pile and burned after the battles? That would have been easier, cheaper, more sanitary, and less messy. But it would have been so disrespectful. Instead, burial “details” were sent out to bury the dead, because those men deserved a special, honorable burial. Can you see how desensitized we’ve become?

1 Corinthians 6:19 says that our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. Even though our spirit and soul are not there anymore, the temple is. God bought us–He owns our bodies. We should glorify God with our body, whether in life or in death.

Think about this a little more with me. Laws in the Old Testament forbid mutilation of the body. Are we “without natural affection” (2 Timothy 3:3)? A hundred years ago, when families prepared the bodies of their loved ones for burial, they called it a “decent, Christian burial.” Can you imagine them stoking up the fire outside and throwing their dead family member’s body into it? If we had to prepare our child for burial, would we choose to cremate? Could you burn the body of your pet when it dies? Most people, I would hope, would shudder at the thought. But we don’t have to “watch it happen”–so we sanitize it in our minds, we deny the horror of it.

Why did the Roman Catholic Church burn martyrs at the stake? To humiliate and dishonor their bodies. They actually exhumed the body of John Wycliffe, put it on trial, found his bones guilty and burned him at the stake. No doubt their intention was to dishonor this man and his work on the Holy Scriptures.

Romans 14:7-8 sums it up,

For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.

The Bible may not seem to summarily answer the question of cremation vs. burial for Christians, but it does put forth principles, that when studied, hold the answers. Do you agree?

Part 3 will deal with other options available to us when a loved one dies, because if you recall from Part 1, my horror at the embalming process is what turned me to consider cremation in the first place. So what is a gal to do? Stay tuned!

Read Part 1 here.

What does the Bible say about Cremation? Part 1

I’ve had some reading time lately, being “stoved up” but healing from  brown recluse spider bite after-effects…and came across this gem in a recent book by Christian historical author Jane Kirkpatrick. For context, the book, Where Lilacs Still Bloom chronicles the true life story of  German housewife Hulda Krager whose passion was hybridizing apples, daffodils, and lilacs on her family farm. Sadly, she outlived her husband and all of her children…so she was well-acquainted with death.

In the first half of the 1900’s, it was the family’s privilege to prepare their dead loved ones for burial. My heart went soft and weepy at the thought, as I read the following taken from Hulda’s musings of her daughter on page 301 of the book:

“I thought of Martha and how we’d bathed her body and dressed her, choosing the right dress, weeping as I gently brushed her cheeks, prayed over her, all the acts of reverence honoring her life.”

This musing of Hulda’s was triggered by something an undertaker confided in her when he was over in her lilac garden, collecting starts to give to grieving families who used his services. He said this:

“My work (is) filled with stories told when people are grief stricken and weakened by loss. They let me into their lives in the most intimate ways, dressing and caring for their loved one, something that used to be done at home.”

So by now you are wondering where this is heading, right? Here’s *my* personal context. In high school, I took an English Comp class in which we were required to read a “descriptive” article detailing the process by which a dead person is embalmed. Suffice it to say, that there article convinced me that cremation was much to be preferred over embalming. For one thing…as the undertaker in the above quote said, the process of preparing someone for burial is a very intimate one. I don’t like the idea much, but always thought it was one of those necessary “evils”, if you will. However, that aside, embalming is gory, mutilating…I could go on and on, but feel free to read up on it if you truly want to go there.  Cremation seemed much preferable to me, in addition to being much more economical. I don’t want to leave my family saddled with a lot of funeral expenses and debt. And I didn’t think there were any other choices really. But I’ve always been bothered by the idea of cremation…I don’t really want my children to have to process the fact that their mother’s body was burned up in a crematorium.

I never stopped to think about checking it out in the Bible. What does God say about cremation and burial? How did Christians do it in the Bible? I did have an interesting conversation about it with a friend about 3 weeks ago, in which we both agreed that it didn’t seem biblical, but we couldn’t say why exactly, other than it seemed to have a pagan origin…funeral pyres, etc.

I’ll leave you with the final words of Hulda Krager spoken about the ways she’d prepared her beloved daughter for burial…

“all the acts of reverence honoring her life.”

Is there anything “honorable” or “reverencing” about subjecting a loved one to cremation or embalming? Personally, I think not.

Now don’t take this wrong. I realize state laws vary regarding our options when a loved one dies. And you might have chosen the cremation route for economical reasons, this is not in judgement of anyone’s decisions whatsoever. It is our soul and spirit that go on to heaven, or hell, not our body…and many saints have been burned at the stake (another reason to rethink cremation?) or died in house fires or explosions. This is not about the body being gone, or unable to be resurrected on the day Jesus returns…this issue is merely, does God have anything to say about how we treat the bodies of our dead?

More on this soon, with scripture!

Things that make me happy!

I am having an uncomplicated day at home for the first time in several weeks. Big deep purr of contentment here. We’ve had back-to-back farmer’s markets in our community, to maximize on various tourism events, and we’re all just feeling plumb worn out. In between all of that, we’ve been processing chickens, keeping up with our big garden, and helping my hubby get ready for hay harvest. Oh, yeah, and milking two cows twice a day really uses up about 3 hours a day when you add in bottle feeding 3 calves, washing and sanitizing all the milking equipment, buckets, bottles, dairy floor…quite the job!

So today I was fixing myself a cup of tea for the first “me time” I’ve had in, well, I can’t remember when, unless you count the time last week when one of my good friends stopped by and helped me peel apples for pies for the market. Now that was pure loveliness, and I’d just been spoiled the day before when another friend came over to share stove duties and helped make pumpkin spice mini loaves. God is so good to me. When is the last time you thanked him for giving you a strong back, the ability to *see* this gorgeous world and participate in LIFE with a healthy body and a family that loves you?

Things that make me happy!

  • White Honeysuckle Tea by Shang, with added goji berries and sweetened with honey–Mmm! (Sipping as I type this…)
  • Seeing a full jar of said honey, and knowing it’s the real deal, honest-to-goodness unadulterated raw, organic honey…and daydreaming about our beekeeping venture panning out…hopefully soon!
  • Time, sweet time, to take deep breaths and snuggle with pup Liz while I watch my girls play with her 5 week old littermates
  • Listening to my girls giggle as they jump on the trampoline with the water hose blasting their every move…
  • My long row of colorful rainbow swiss chard out in the garden–so purty, its oranges, hot pinks, yellows, pale greens and pinks!
  • Garden tomatoes and cukes in my CSA share this week! WOW!
  • Hymns played by my 11 year old on her harmonica–she takes it wherever we go, we rarely listen to the radio in the vehicle anymore…
  • Fresh cream on fresh blackberries with a teensy bit of sugar!
  • Murmuring lovingly to my Jersey cow, ’cause she’s so good to us and gives such amazing milk!
  • Farmer’s Markets–such a fantastic sense of community…
  • Great Bible teaching–which we’re so blessed to get three times a week, praise God!

Wow, I think I could go on indefinitely, but my tea is getting cold and I’m overdue for some time in the Bible today…

What are some of your favorite things? I’d love to hear about them!

Blessings,
Mary

Rumor has it…

Rumors abound, and when they are about me or people I love, it’s more than bothersome, it’s hurtful and annoying. Now, I’m not easily offended, and I hate to think anything I’ve said in “real life” or here on this blog has been offensive, but the fact is, I know that a lot of the passions reflected on this blog focus on hot topics. Topics many of us have strong opinions about. So I just want to clear the air here on a few things, and beg you NOT to assign titles to me that are not true. I think you’ll catch my drift when you read the following.

  1. Yes, I’m an idealist that wants to feed pure healthy food to my family. We still eat junk, and occasionally–gasp–items with high fructose corn syrup, but we do what we can to eat healthy and to eliminate the need for chemicals, etc. in our family garden.
  2. No, I’m not against conventional farmers! Not one little bit. I know that for high yields on crops modern farmers are all doing what they believe they have to do to survive. I understand that for yields, GMO seeds are a good thing. I apologize if my belief that more caution is in order when it comes to genetically modified seeds/fish/animals has caused offense in any quarter. None intended. My father-in-law, brother-in-law, and many good friends are conventional farmers and I know that they are concerned about these issues, and the health of the land as well. We just happen to come at these issues from slightly different angles, that’s all!
  3. I’m not against the medical field. But I am all for keeping your kids healthy w/o medical intervention when possible. I realize it’s not always possible. I realize we’ve been soooo blessed to not have any major diseases or broken bones, or genetic defects that require a doctor’s aid. When I express my delight in being able to cure simple illnesses with herbs and such that God’s given, and my distaste for the overuse of anti-biotics we see here in the USA, please don’t misconstrue that to mean that I am against the medical profession. The two family practice docs that saw me and mine through the girls’ younger years are priceless, and I’d still pick up the phone and call them with questions if I didn’t have a wonderful herbal nutritionist at my beck and call. *Smile* (Not to mention both of those family practice docs quit their practices for various reasons)
  4. Yes, I’m sold on the KJV Bible being the word of God for all English speaking people. Yes, I don’t see the need for any other translation, because I believe hands down that the KJV is not only the best, but the one God perfectly preserved through historical manuscripts and godly translators as He promised He’d do until the end of time, according to Psalm 12:6-7. However, I believe that people can still get saved by reading other versions, because God’s word does not return void. This is an issue between a Christian and God, I share my thoughts and convictions on it here at the blog, but I by NO means judge you for choosing to stick with your alternate version. (I may pity you a little bit for what you’re missing out on though! *wink*)
  5. Raw milk. Ooh boy. Everyone who knows me in real life knows what a fanatic I am about raw milk vs. pasteurized. But ya know what? We all are fanatics about something. Maybe you are particularly critical of people that drink beer? I’m not critical of people that drink pasteurized milk, I’m just wanting the same freedoms to buy/sell raw milk that any other freedom loving American enjoys when he chooses white bread over whole wheat. Fair enough?

Those are just the top 5 that get me in trouble. I hope most of you know that in my book, grace is the name of the game. Nothing’s gained by being critical of how others choose to do things. Don’t read between the lines here at the blog and assume I’m a hater of conventional farmers/dairies, doctors, dentists, etc.–because that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you wonder about my stance on certain issues, ask me, go to the mat with me, I’ll still call you friend when it’s all said and done. I’ve done my research, but I realize there’s always more to learn about any subject. And I realize that you’ve probably done your research too! We may have to agree to disagree. Not such a bad thing! Really!

The next time someone says something derogatory about someone else…check with the source before passing it along. Rumors hurt people. And what are you doing talking about other people behind their backs anyway? Right?

For what it’s worth, I do apologize if my diatribes here on the blog have caused any personal angst to any of my readers. This platform provides an outlet for me to voice my concerns and thoughts and inspirations and get valuable feedback from you! However, please understand that one can only be censored *so* much. Chances are, if you continue to read here, you will from time to time experience a rise in blood pressure from some of my ornery topics. I just can’t help myself. And it is my blog, after all.

Farm Happenings

Well, a whole lot has been going on at our little homestead since I last had time to write! For starters, the girls and I have been preparing for our local farmer’s market for around two months, canning jellies and jams, making homemade cold process soaps and lip balms, crocheting doll dresses and dishcloths and potscrubbers, and trying out specialty cookie recipes such as “Nutter Betters” and “M’Oreos”, Marbled Chocolate Caramel Bars and Graham Crackers.

We’ve also been preparing for the arrival of two family cows! We were able to acquire an older Jersey cow named “Phyllis”–we call her “Philly”, and a 5 year old Ayreshire named “Missy”. They have been a wonderful addition to our livestock family. And on the evening of the first farmer’s market, Philly gave birth to a bouncing baby bull calf! They are both doing great, and yes, I’m so far surviving the early morning milkings. It’s the many buckets and containers that need washed and sterilized that’s killing me over here! ;O) We are huge fans of raw milk, and having our own milk cows is a dream come true, a long time coming! Missy is due to calve sometime around the end of May.

We’re raising baby chicks again, some for laying and some for the freezer. Our garden is double the size it was last year, we have a good stand of lettuce, onions, broccoli, cabbage, rainbow swiss chard, beets and about 60 or more tomatoes–I lost count. Green beans are coming up nicely, and I need to get out there and plant cukes and melons ASAP! Always plenty to do these days, as we finish up our school year, and work on labels for our market goodies.

The first farmer’s market was last week, and it exceeded our expectations and then some. We are trying to figure out how to make more baked goods while maximizing our efficiency. Oh for another stove! My 14 year old is the one baking the specialty cookies, which are very time consuming, but amazingly delicious, and big draws for the public. All of our baked goods are 100% made from freshly ground whole wheat berries…from our butter cookie pie crusts to our M’Oreo cookies.

Hope you enjoy the pics of our little farmstead!

Happy Spring to you!