An attempt to declare the Glory of God for what He has chosen to do with our lives. A legacy to leave to my children in the telling of it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

What Homeschool Looks Like At Our Place

This is what home school looks like in our house. Four kids, doing four different things, all at the same time. One doing math, one playing piano, one sorting letters, and one reading out loud to Mom while snuggling on the couch. We have an official "classroom", but it never fails that we do school at the dining room table.

This year I am teaching first grade through tenth grade. We have kept a lot of our same curriculum: Bob Jones reading and science, Saxon math, Spelling Power, the Bible, and lots of good books. We have fallen into a nice routine where the older kids get up and get right to work on their school work after quiet Bible time in the morning, and then I help them out as needed, which leaves us the afternoon to enjoy other projects.

Although Alexis is really the only one serious about piano and takes "real" lessons, the other kiddos are forced to daily plunking.

It only took me ten years of home schooling, but I finally came up with the great idea to buy a plastic tote for each child to keep their school books, pencils, etc., in. Two weeks into our year and it has already solved our problems of the mysterious missing workbook and pencil dilemma.

Why God gave us Sisters

"Is a love affair with the God of the universe, an affair so deep that it drops you to your face in beseeching Him, in standing in awe of Him, really something that you want to get over??? Do you really want to go back to my realm, of seeing such little of His greatness and glory? The rest of us only catch a glimpse of what God is revealing to you. Not to sound crass or to dismiss your pain. I think you are the voice that Christians need to hear in this. I am sorry that the pain of missing your son is involved in revealing Christ's majesty."
Some encouragement from my sister, Traci.

I am unworthy to try to proclaim God's faithfulness. The temptation in my soul to conform to the world has been intense the past few days. I have been going back to wanting to make my "watchers" happy and grieve how they want me to grieve, how the world thinks I should grieve. I have been tempted to deny where God has me so that I can please the masses. I have been scared to profess too much of God in this lately.

But, beyond anything I have ever known, I know there is a sovereign God who loves me. I know my son is with Him. I know He is coming back one day, and I will give account to only Him. I draw near, and sense His presence. I reach out, and long to physically feel His hand leading me. No, I don't ever want to get over that. I don't ever want to stop standing in awe of Him. I don't want to forget His greatness and His glory that was only revealed at this time because of Trent's death.

My God knows His purposes for it being this way. I will continue to fight to not lose hope of that. I will continue to profess that. I will continue to praise Him. I will continue to trust Him. I will continue to seek Him. I will strive to be where He has me, right now. I will battle to stay close to Him. I will continue to profess Him. Nothing else matters; nothing. I will beg you to consider Him before it is too late. Do you know my God? Do you know my Jesus? Really know Him?

You answer us with righteous and awesome deeds, God our Savior, the hope of the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas.

Psalm 65:5

Truly He is my Rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 62:6

The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!

Psalm 18:46

But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who long for Your saving help always say, "The LORD is great!"

Psalm 70:4

I wait for your salvation, Lord, and I follow your commands.

Psalm 119:166

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Honor of Kings

It is the Glory of God to conceal a matter;

It is the honor of kings to search it out.

Proverbs 25:2

This morning I went face down, refusing to stay in the apathetic place I have been with God. Not on my knees, not kneeling by the bed, but face down on the old wood floor; begging God to reveal Himself, begging Him to carry me, pleading for His grace, longing for real praise from my soul rather than just this ache that has accompanied me for so many days.

On your knees you can only accept what the King has to offer you; no more, no less, no great expectations, just total humbleness. I felt my insignificance; I sensed God's power and His majesty. I acknowledged Him as Lord and Master like never before. Lying there, I realized the feel of complete surrender.

Tonight I find myself near tears again at flashbacks from seven months ago. The shock must be wearing off. I tried reading some articles on grief to make sure that I was doing everything right and only found a lack of any Godly council. Many theories and statements are out there about how the first year of grieving a child isn't even the hardest part, and that the second through the seventh years are harder yet. But pretty much they all agree that you never really do get over it. And especially when it was an accidental death~ no chance of ever recovering from it.

Where are the Christians who have lost children? Where is the hope in God? Hope in His plans, in His sovereignty, in His eternity? Where are the Hebrews 11 people who are willing to trust God and wait on Him? Some days I feel like I am losing my mind. I conform too easily to what "they" say, and then I get scared. I wonder if I can barely do this today, how can I do it the rest of my life?

So I go back to my knees, back to prayer, back to God. I hold on tighter. I cry more. I trust God all over. I keep thinking that in 800-billion-years from now I won't even remember this day. I try to put it all in perspective somehow. I go back to the truth of Scripture and refuse, again, to be shaken. I repeat the verses over and over and over:

For those He foreknew He predestined; Precious is the death of the saints in the eyes of the Lord; Never will God leave me or forsake; I am in the palm of His hand; God knew Trent and the plans He had for him; Jesus is coming soon; God only does things for our good; one day, one day this will all be made right.

Then I realize that I made it through another day. I realize that Trent's salvation was made clear before his death. I realize that God doesn't make mistakes, and that He knows what broken hearts feel like. I realize I am praising God again.

"Blessed are those who believe in God when they haven't seen him," Alexis reminds me. "Mom, that means you. You are blessed."

I am one day closer to being in heaven. I pray harder for my children who are here. I pray for my husband. I pray for those God calls me to pray for. I pray to live as if this is my last day. I anticipate meeting Jesus face to face. I long for salvation for many souls. I long for the glory of the Lord to fill this land. I proclaim, again, what is only foolishness to so many: Jesus saves, only Jesus saves. Won't you call on Him today when He can still be found, dear reader?


There was a hard frost a couple of weeks back which meant the end of everything green in the garden. I tend to think that there can only be beauty in the living, thriving plants . . . but my eyes saw differently as I worked harvesting the flower seeds the other day.

Jesus replied . . .

"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies,

it remains only a single seed.

But if it dies, it produces many seeds."

John 12:23-24
I saw the beauty in these dry, dead plants. I remembered when the soil was tilled months ago and the flower seeds were individually placed in the ground, covered tenderly, and even prayed over. I remembered how they sprang up slowly, then overtook their designated rows, to eventually bring vibrant color to the vegetable garden. Now, though brown and dead, their beauty shines just as bright if one is able to look past the cold winter ahead and dream about next spring.

The potential of just one of these seeds planted in the ground after months of freezing temperatures could literally last my lifetime and beyond.

But only by harvesting them, collecting them, and then being faithful to plant them yet again.

Which means, ultimately, releasing them to grow where God allows them to grow.

"The man who loves his life will lose it,

while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servants also will be.

My Father will honor the one who serves me.

Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say?

'Father, save me from this hour?'

No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.

Father, glorify your name."


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lot's of Goats

Asha, Dixie, Susan, Lucille, and Belle.

Jacob, who came all the way from Missouri and rode home in the van from Brenda's farm.
Martha, Esther and Jingle.
Do you know how hard it is to take a picture of a goat?!

Farm life has slowed down a bit as we are done milking the goats now that all the calves have been weaned. We kept three doelings from this spring, who have also been weaned. The five big does should all be expecting kids in late January, and we will plan for a second batch of kids to be due in mid-March. I do love my goats!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


My brain is stuck. What an odd word~ stuck. All I feel in my body today is a tightening in my chest, not even tears stinging at my eyes, or that familiar lump in my throat. I feel the ache in my arms, literally, from longing to hold Trent some days. Finally, after that thought, the tears can come, and the stomach curls as the sobs fall. The lips fight to remain upright; the jaw clenches. It feels better than numb. It feels better than raw.

The outside world wants to quickly heal a person who is grieving. Funny~ at first everyone thought I should be crying, now they don't seem to think I should be, or maybe they just don't know what to do with me still crying, or maybe they don't know what to do because they aren't still crying. But it is only God that I stand before, it is His timetable that I grieve on. I will cry as long as He wants me to cry.

Life is somehow going on. Alexis and I were lamenting over that fact the other day. My little sister and I were struggling with the age old question a couple of weeks ago about why are we here~ and especially as Christians, when all we want is to be with the Lord, why are we still here. I found myself missing Trent this morning for not being here for football this year. Then I stopped myself, and realized how little I realize what reality is.

This is Satan's kingdom.

It is not Trent that I should be weeping for, it is my other children who are still here. Now don't think I've gone off the deep end, I have only seen a glimpse of what Scripture is talking about these past seven months and am trying to sort the reality of it. I have also been reading a book by Steve Gallagher called "Intoxicated with Babylon", and that reality is all too real. Eternity is on the line, people. We are playing in Satan's sandbox and enjoying it, and only want more.

What if everything Scripture says is true, dear Christian? Remember all those verses about this world being the devil's kingdom since the fall of man, and the reason that God sent His son Jesus to die on a cross was to ransom His own, and that His own should live in this world as aliens, not as citizens, and that one day He would come back to surprise us, rescue us, and establish His kingdom. But most of us don't want to be ransomed. Most of us like it here. Most of us have established our own kingdoms here and can't see beyond. We think we are entitled to this world's pleasures, and even that they are a gift from God. Remember who's pleasure's they are. Gallagher goes on to say that we have become drunkards enjoying this world's every little trifle rather than seeking our true King and His kingdom.

Wake up. Please wake up. That is what my plea has been to God; let me wake up, let me see clearly, let me live faithfully, let me repent of anything that is not glorifying to Him, let me live obediently, let me live eternally minded, let my eyes be open.

And to think, I would have traded all that just to see my son chase a little ball around a field on a cold, fall evening. He is with his God. He is with his Savior. Dance before your King, my son, and when I get there we'll dance together.

Friday, September 23, 2011

In Case You Ever Wondered

In case you have ever wondered how we can manage to buy cute, little baby spotted calves in the spring, tenderly bottle feed them for several weeks, continue caring for them every day for 18 months, and then ship them off to the locker plant for processing, to finally serve them up on a plate done to medium-well-juicy perfection . . . this is how.
Almost without fail, every single year that we have raised steers (which is a lot of years), they decide that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence about three weeks before the big truck is scheduled to make an appearance at our loading chute, and decide it would be really fun to become Houdini's with the fence and sneak out to play a game of catch . . . daily.
By the time that truck does pull into our driveway those steers can consider themselves lucky that this crazy farm wife hasn't found the keys for the gun cabinet and done the duty myself. A nice juicy T-bone sounds pretty good for supper right about now.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Empty Hands

Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord!
Psalm 134:2

When we come to God with empty hands we will not be disappointed.

It is only when our hands are clenched tightly to "my plans, my ways, my possessions, my ideas, my hurts, and my expectations" that we are disappointed in Him. When we let go, and let God be God, there is freedom. Freedom to trust Him. Freedom to let Him lead. Freedom to drop our burdens. Freedom to rest from carrying a load that is too heavy.

Arms can be raised with those same hands open to the heavens; tears can fall, and praise can come from our lips yet again. Our fight with our Creator ends when we surrender Him to be God in our lives in everything that He chooses to do. And not only God, but Master. When we turn and follow Him is when the way is paved smooth, the light shines the brightest, and the peace is the greatest. He is worthy of leading. Are you following?

Anyone who trusts in Him will never be {disappointed}
Romans 10:11

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Daughter in Sepia

The Great Pumpkin Harvest

When Hope Rises

I have dreaded going to bed at night because I know that the morning will be greeted with another wrestling match, and I will have to come to terms again with God about Trent being in heaven. This battle between soul and mind is constant. Scripture says that the heart is wicked and deceitful and is beyond cure. Our flesh is still flesh; consumed with sin and longs to go astray from our Savior, mine included. Too easily the emotions shift directions and I get swept away. So I fight. I fight with Scripture, I fight with prayer, I fight by making myself accountable and even vulnerable to what my true thoughts and emotions are. And it is exhausting.

As defeat longed to rule yesterday morning, there was suddenly a hope that rose stronger. Hope in a sovereign God, hope in the plans He has for my life, hope in His word. The thought consumed me that this was not a day of defeat, but rather it was another day to bask in God's grace. It was another day to look for His mercies, and His provision, and His faithfulness. It was a day that is a mist, a vapor that will one day pass into eternity.

In that eternity I will never have the opportunity to trust God in this way again. What is veiled now will be revealed then. "Blessed are those who do not see, and yet believe," Jesus said. In heaven God's grace will be different. It will be a grace by sight, not by faith. What a gift to know God, then, in this way for the time He has granted it.

After a good day, my night finished off on that same hope by reading in Scripture: "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:2-3

What a truth to hold on to: Jesus Himself is the author and perfecter of our faith. Alexis and I sat together in awe pondering those words. As she sat writing her book-in-the-works the reality of an author only sunk in deeper. And if Jesus is the perfecter of our faith, that means, then, that everything He does is also perfect.

Even taking twelve year old boys to heaven.

What freedom there is in serving a Sovereign God.

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. For in just a little while,

"He who is coming will come and will not delay.
But my righteous one will live by faith.
And if he shrinks back,
I will not be pleased with him."
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

Hebrews 12:7, 12:11, 10:35-39

Saturday, September 17, 2011

They Will See His Face

For the past seven months there has been one thought that has consumed me: Trent is in heaven. I don't mean that he's gone, but that he is in heaven. Look at your son. Now, try to imagine if your son knew what heaven looked like. Try to imagine if your son knew what the face of God looked like, what the scars on Jesus' hands looked like, what the throne looked like and the souls of the martyrs under the alter, besides the cherubim and the seraphim, and the Book of life. All those things we teach our kids about in Sunday school are reality for Trent. The things I long to know first hand, he knows.

We were at the zoo the other day. Half way through as we were marvelling at yet another of God's creation, it dawned on me that Trent is probably doing the same thing on a grander scale. "Look at that, look at that, can you believe God made that, look at that!" I can't even imagine.

I am beginning to live worldly again. I hate it, but it's creeping in. The reality of salvation is becoming commonplace again. The ache for God to save my children is slowly becoming a ritual again, rather than a desperate mother pleading before her King.

Today's plans and the farm repairs are rising in importance next to soul's lately. I suppose there are those who are breathing a sigh of relief and are glad that I might lay off of the "Jesus thing" now a little bit, but I am asking God for the exact opposite. All my days left here I want to be used for His Kingdom, not this one. I don't know how to balance that. The calf shed that was started last year still needs to be finished. It is important that the last pieces of siding get put on so that we are wise stewards of our possessions, but the joy of seeing that dreamed about building coming to completion is not there anymore.

I was beginning to wonder if it was the numbness of grief, but I am slowly seeing it as God's grace as I look beyond that little white shed. My mind is trying to sort what's really important and what's temporary. Mostly my brain is on survival mode at this point, and I am only functioning enough to keep my head and my soul above water. The rest gets put aside.

Goose hunting is going on in full force around us. I try to pretend that it doesn't matter, that it doesn't bother me or make me miss Trent more. But then I tell myself to quit pretending. I know that if he were here I would not have been lying in my warm, cozy bed this morning at 5:00 AM, but rather I would have been dressed in camouflage sitting in a frosty field somewhere.

I had the opportunity to share Trent's story with three different men this week; doctor's who aren't normally in our daily life, but who God put there to work miracles through. Last year we expected nothing other than scheduling our yearly checkup for September; this time when I checked out and scheduled our appointment for next September I wondered what would be different a year from now.

I thought of how we impact each other's lives without even realizing it. I thought of these men just coming to work to punch the time clock every day, not understanding the lives that they are changing. I thought of how God changes our lives in a single day. I prayed that God would use a little slip of paper to change their lives. I wondered if that doctor realized how much it meant to me that he broke professional protocol and gave me a hug when I told him my son was in heaven. I praised God for using us.

Yesterday I cried over fence posts. Yes, fence posts. Fence posts that were put in last fall with Trent's help. I touched the post, longing for any possible physical connection to my son. I fought tears as I picked up sticks and when I carried white steel siding. The tears finally overflowed when I realized I had spent the whole morning frustrated over trying to clearly communicate with a man half way down in the nation about what color I wanted used on a book cover about my son who died.

I can't explain how odd it is that Trent is gone. Just gone. You would think that seven months later I would be used to it. Someone said to me the other day, "I don't know how you will ever get over this. I don't think you will ever get over this." I gave them credit for saying anything. It wasn't as hard to hear that comment this time around as I have already heard it before. They did go on to share some very encouraging stories, offered their sympathies, and told me of how losing our child had changed their lives as well.

But still, I don't know how I will ever get over this either. I have come to realize it is not something to "get over". It's not a disease that there is a cure for. No magic pill or potion will take it away. It is a daily walk, a daily trust, a daily hope in Jesus. The only place I need to be is where He has me. Too easily I succumb to where others want me, not intentionally on their end, but where I think they must be thinking I should be. I fight to be where God has me, whether that be crying, remembering, happy, or rejoicing. They are all emotions from Him, not any of them bad in themselves, but only more reasons to remember God's words and reflect Him in them.

I wonder if I am leading or God is leading sometimes, so I stop my plans and let Him show me. And He does. I am glad to be out of the "battle zone" where I was a couple of weeks ago. There is no doubt in my mind that there are eternal battle's going on that we are not aware of. One day we will see. I think of the intensity of a friend who shared how she had been battling in prayer for me one day. Little did she know how I needed exactly that, exactly then.

The other day I realized that somebody must be praying for our marriage. Thank you. It dawned on me a while ago how God has pulled Rob and I together at a time that we could easily be pulled apart. I can't express the strength that God has given us, or the grace, or the togetherness, or the power (not sure if that word describes it right) to glorify Him together. It dawned on me that this, too, is a blessing from God.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city.

No longer will there be any curse.

The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve Him.

They will see his face,

and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light.

And they will reign for ever and ever.

The angel said to {John}, "These words are trustworthy and true."

From Revelation 22:1-6

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Better Than Chocolate

Last night Trent's name casually came up in conversation, and out of the blue, Grace, Micah and I entered in to deep theological matters that I have forgotten to be in awe of. I can't even remember what was said about Trent when Micah commented, "I wish people could come back from heaven."

I explained in simple terms, on a six year old level, "They do, Micah."

"They do?" he asked, eyes wide. "Can he come back today?" The three of us went on to discuss how Jesus was raised from the grave as the firstfruit, how God is going to restore this earth, how people will come back from heaven.

"Well then we better keep his stuff in his trunk for him."

"But I think we will probably go to heaven before Trent comes back from heaven, honey," I tried to explain.

"Well, then maybe Russell can take care of it for him." Russell is our 80-some year old neighbor.

So I tried a different tactic and told him, like Isaiah said, that we will throw all of these earthly belongings that we hold on to so tightly here and put so much meaning in, to the rats and the bats when we see what Jesus has to offer us. I think I summed it up by saying, "Jesus has lots better stuff for us."

"Like gold money, and it has the chocolates inside?"

"Yep, Micah, like gold money with chocolates inside, and even better than that."

"Better than that?!" he could hardly believe it.

I wish I could capture the "awe" in his voice by typing mere words on a computer. I wish I could capture the excitement of his childlike faith. I wish I could capture his wide eyes and expectant face for a God who was just revealed bigger than he could have ever imagined. I wish I could somehow pen the joy in my own heart to be reminded, yet again, that people do come back from heaven, and God has better things in store for His children. Better, even, than gold coins with chocolate inside.