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.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

It's a Good Thing

It's a good thing I don't suffer from allergies because the kids have been thrilled to pick "wild flowers" for me the past couple of weeks. A pretty vase of yellow pollen-laden beauties have adorned the island, along with the not-so-wild irises picked from the flower garden next to them in another vase. One of the priveleged joys of motherhood: fresh flowers all summer long.

The days are busy around here. I feel like I am just trying to fill them in until Jesus returns.

Another season to plant the garden has begun, most of the seeds are in and the weeds have already threatened to overtake. The rote task of digging in the soil and anticipating new growth stirs some excitement, but my soul is still dull to this world. The hours spent in our plot of sandy earth have already started to show results: the potatoes burst through the other day just when I started to panic that maybe they wouldn't. The beans and pickles are starting sparsely although I am sure we will be overwhelmed in fifty-eight days with their bounty. No signs of zucchini yet, which has me worried because I enjoy the never ending harvest of them, and so do the chickens, and then there's the largest squash Fair entries to anticipate.

A new raspberry bed was started with extra's from Traci's plot, an endeavor she assures me will bring me close to cursing the fertile, prickly bushes in just a matter of time. My rose colored glasses are only seeing jams and jellies and red smeared, smiling kid faces. Some new fruit trees were added to the orchard: an apple and a pear to join the others. Another hundred-or-so transplanted trees went along the roadside. A Wisconsin winter and a big tractor did little to help my unending endeavor to add some privacy to our open road view, but never-the-less, I continue to force the kids into the woods every spring to dig up yet more scragglers and tell them that this really will be the last year we have to do this.

Raining today; God's blessings to many prayers asked for moisture to establish our work. I love the lazy feel of dark rainy mornings. The young ones are sleeping in late, much needed rest from the abundance of sunshine and play lately. A renewed hope of the rest to come.

Most everybody has taken a break from the books to live life for a little while. Most of the kids have only a couple of books left to finish anyway, but all needed a mental vacation; especially mom:) I foresee math and reading throughout the summer months for a couple of them, plus some Bible and history reading together for all, but I have a feeling that they'll get much more out of it come June.

Farm chores are easy now with only twenty-or-so chickens to feed and water, baby calves are weaned, big steers and horses on pasture and automatic waterers, and milking and kidding season nearly over. Twin goats were born on Monday~ a boy and a girl~ yay! One last straggler doe to go any moment now ... really ... any moment ... yes, I know I said that two weeks ago. Alexis and I actually rode horse the other day. None of us have had any gumption to ride this spring, not even Grace.

Galatians 4:15~ "What has happened to all your joy?"

Thanks for asking Paul;I've been lacking in the joy department lately. We are the victors in Christ, right? We are reminded to be bold and courageous, right (Joshua 1:9)? Not whiny and pouty, right?

I will delight in my weaknesses, then, I will eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which I hope (2 Cor 12:10; Gal 5:5), I will get out of bed in the morning, I will trust God for where He has me, I will fight the fight, I will stay the course, I will walk where God calls, I will remember that this life is but a shadow, I will long for God's glory to shine through me even if it comes with intense pain, I will remember to cook breakfast and lunch and dinner for my family, I will remember that it is by grace alone that we are saved, I will count it joy to suffer for the Savior who suffered for me, I will set my eyes on the joy before me- on the cross before me- as I grope to grasp God's hand in the dark pit as He leads me on (Isaiah 41:13), I will remember that my meager efforts to live a life worthy of the calling does make a difference because our King does not give trifles to His children for rewards, therefore I will share the gospel and the good news of salvation with the bank guy and the McDonalds gal and the random souls that God puts in my path, I will rest in God's sufficient grace and let it be enough to sustain me until I see Jesus face to face.

Friday, May 18, 2012

This New Day

Part your heavens, O Lord, and come down. Psalm 144:5

I wake up to another new day to battle the never-ending question: do I trust God?

Written on a sermon note tucked in my Bible from who-knows how long ago, the question is asked again in black and white: do I really trust God? It's one I've been repeating to myself for fifteen months. One I have pondered deeper this past week when the news came that yet another teen-ager died in an accident in our little community.

I wonder why we got the "good story" of a son who professed faith in Jesus Christ. I wonder how the unsaved grieve without the hope of God. I wonder the ultimate question of how you would grieve a loved one who did not know Christ. I feel the paralyzing numbness longing to take over rather than feeling the emotions or asking the questions.

I read on to the end of the notes: The Isrealites stumbled and fell because of their unbelief. Their main sin was unbelief. We stand by our faith, and that alone. Not by sight, but faith.

I repeat the promises found in Scripture that I have known so long: those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved; we are victors in Christ; those God predestined he will also glorify; to be absent from the body is to be present with Christ; Jesus is coming soon and His reward is with Him.

"Keep looking forward, don't look around," I wrote weeks ago as the concluding line.

I look around and see only two boys going fishing with their dad instead of three. I look around and pack only four bags instead of five for an upcoming camping trip. I look around and feel the consuming pain of grief that steals the joy from every simple event.

For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross. For the joy set before me, I walk this walk by faith. I try to imagine the glory of God; the unbelievable magnitude of heaven; the first glimpse of standing face to face with my Creator.

A kind lady called a few days ago to tell me how she was blessed to read How My Savior Leads Me. She went on to tell me about when her husband died she realized after a few months that along with the pain of his loss, she was actually more jealous; jealous that her Johnnie was in the presence of God, without sin.

Randy Alcorn writes in his book, Heaven, that "For the Christian, death is not the end of the adventure but a doorway from a world where dreams and adventures shrink, to a world where dreams and adventures forever expand."

Do I trust God and the plans He has for my life, and my son's life? Yes. Do I long to be there with him? A resounding yes. But again I wake up with the same thought: Here I am still, Lord, please use me then today for your glory.


Listen to my cry [O Lord] for I am in desperate need. Psalm 142:6

I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Psalm 143:6

Set me free from my prison that I may praise your name. Psalm 142:7

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Free Rangers

The worst thing about summer flip-flop season is free ranging chickens who are attracted to red toenail polish. Shoo!! Shoo!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day

I survived. Only 364 days until I have to do it all over again. I was granted the privelege of doing whatever I wanted to do, so I chose to stay home from church and cry. I did attempt to salvage the day and be a good mother when everyone got home. I opened presents and ate kid-made deep fried hot dogs on china. Then I made the kiddos work in the garden with me. And I cried some more.

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming.
See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop
and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.
You, too, be patient and stand firm,
because the Lords' coming is near.
James 5:7-8

I'll try, James, I'll try.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Season for Tractors

Springtime is tractor time around our little farm. Although we don't work the ground ourselves, we enjoy the benefit of the fellowship with the crew that does. Big brothers and their menagerie of whoever is available to help always causes excitement when we see those green John Deere's come rolling in the driveway.
The thrill of riding with the uncles, plus the never-forgotten promise that Steve would teach them how to drive this year, causes sibling quarrels over who goes first. Usually there is a race to make sure the chores have been finished, and if the event falls on a school day, they are all glad that math is over so they can take their turn.
It's a time of little boys looking up to big boys, greasy wrenches and standing around in the dust in the midst of the tractors' far off rumble as we listen to stories that we've heard numerous times before, but could gladly listen to over and over again.

A time to open wide our doors in hospitality, and to be glad that today the house cleaners really did meet the standards of "company clean."

A time when we're glad the freezers are full and there's gas in the grill. When the kitchen is full of bustling girls whipping up potato packs, italian pasta salad, and bars for dessert to feed a hungry crew.

A time when I realize that there aren't enough matching plates in my menagerie of cast-off antique dishes to make a pretty table setting, only to realize that Uncle David won't mind anyway if he gets the chipped china; just pass the chocolate chip bars.

Another round of the corn planter in the dark brown soil; another smiling kid; another year of memories as we pray for God's blessing, once again, on our humble farmstead.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Day Late and a Couple Dollars Short -or-April Counts

If anything, I am late. And so it is, never failing, the April counts are in ... ahem ... on May 10.

Egg totals (from 15 laying hens, two of whom thought they would brood several rotten eggs for a few weeks and receive free room and board with absolutely nothing to show for it, poor bitties): 202 eggs, almost 17 dozen, averaging 7.48 eggs a day, all this considering that the farmers wife forgot to record three days in the busy month of April.

Goats Milk (from 6 goats at the beginning of the month, down to 4 goats mid-month, with one milking a day from does who also raised their babies): 54 1/2 gallons of farm fresh goats milk (I only missed marking one day, five days we didn't milk), averaging 2.3 gallons a day. The milk was used to finish raising the three holstein calves (that are now officially weaned! Yippee!), as well as lots going into the freezer for future soap making. I even tried my hand again at making cheese!

Lots of baby kittens were born~ twelve to be exact. Any reasonable offers are being accepted ~ they're "freer" if you take several ~ and I may even pay you to take some.

Ten more baby bunnies were born to Cole's prosperous farm business.

Several pullets were sold to many happy Craigslisters.

The eight pigs are fat and happy eating their cheese and whey.

And now, after I feed all those hungry critters, I'm going to start catching up on the May calendar.


I wonder if any of us really get this. As the lightbulb burns out above the bathroom sink, again, and the faucet still drips; as I lay in my bed watching the morning sun rise, and with it I am begging God to let me remember that His glory will rise this day, too; and as I wait anxiously for does in the barn to show some sign of actually delivering their kids, and as I long to be brave enough to allow myself to feel the intensity of loving my own kids who are this side of heaven, I wonder if I really get this: This majesty of my God. The great hope that is found only in Him. The cost of Jesus' blood that was poured out for souls.

I tend to seek primarily for the instant gratification that pleases my flesh, fooling myself that something here will satisfy, while my inner-being constantly cries out for my Maker. The discontent after Trent's death has not ceased to exhaust me. What worldly things used to bring great joy now only fail. A crying for something that satisfies is the ache of my heart; a satisfaction that will not be found until eternity begins and I am in the presence of my Savior.

The writer of Hebrews talks about those who were waiting for a better country~ a heavenly one (Hebrews 11). They were looking forward to a city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. We are reminded of the "greats" who lived by faith, longing for this heavenly dwelling. Moses regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward; he persevered because he saw Him who was faithful. Hebrews 12 reminds us to "fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross."

God has been reminding me over and over again of His promises. This God, of whom "it is impossible for Him to lie," (Hebrews 6:18) gave His own son, Jesus, in our place as the atonement for sin. This same Jesus who has entered heaven itself, now appears for us in God's presence (Heb 9:24): Jesus himself petitions God on our behalf. His sacrifice was a "perfect sacrifice, and is right now sufficient to make perfect forever those who are being made holy" (Heb 10:14).

Never before giving up my own son have I understood to this depth the cost of salvation or the importance of living in obedience to the words of Scripture. Until your heart breaks, and you have given all, you cannot consider giving your own life in exchange. "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." John 12:25

I can't imagine God's glory. I can't make anything here in this world compare. I think, truly, that is the ache of this grief: the longing of having what my son has; to be in the presence of God.

Monday, May 7, 2012

They Tell Me I'm Gettin' Old

The younger generation in our household keep telling me that I'm getting old. I admit, chasing goats and kids has started to take it's toll on me, but I thought I should have a few more years before I was labeled with that uncouth title. I'm not sure just when it was, either, that I started to think near-forty wasn't old, but in their eyes I'm ancient. And their father, who has passed that forty mark, is about decrepit. The battle of the bulge is no longer defined around here by "if" you have a roll, but rather by how many rolls you do have. The trump card is if you can still suck that roll in or not: if so, you're just fine and ahead of the game. My arms aren't saggy yet and I can still hide the double chin, so I guess I should have a few more years until I can't keep plucking those stray-gray's before I have to worry too much.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Five baby kittens were born today~ more farm insurance against unwanted scurrying grey critters in the barn that make the farmers wife scream like a little girl. Cute:)) Cute:))

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Farm Day 2012

Because there can't be too many farmers ... and because we love hosting events at our farm ... and because it's tradition ... and because I am not content without a gazillion things on my to-do-list ... we are gearing up for our (sort-of-annual) spring homeschool group event. In years past we have done history reenactments of the American Revolutionary War, and the Oregon Trail. We had a grande scheme to commemorate the anniversary of the Civil War last year, especially focusing on the Underground Railroad with costumes and hiding places of our very own, but God had other plans to glorify His name, so we took the year off. To ease back into it, we have invited forty to fifty people out to our homestead to experience a day of living life on a sustainable farm.

I have lined up lots of exciting events, including, of course, meeting all the critters, opportunities to milk the goats, feed the calves, pet the horses, work in the garden as well as each child planting their own pumpkin seed, watching the "big" tractor disk the fields, enjoying a picnic and farm lunch, a garden plant sale, all followed by a soap making demonstration with classes available to make your own soap. The highlight of the whole day (which I take absolutely no credit for 'cause somehow I lost track) could be a live delivery of baby goats. Our two young does (of whom I had given up on) look suspiciously due at any moment; literally, any moment ... I should actually be doing another anxious check right about now.

In preparation for all of the fun, I have been drinking large amounts of coffee and waiting for the last minute to enjoy the rush of adrenaline that makes a farmers wife transform her little world into a city-slickers dream-fulfilled in a matter of twenty-four hours. The part that I especially enjoy about hosting events are all the projects that get completed before the big day. In the past week I have gotten the garden tilled, new fruit trees planted, a new flower bed started, the over-due chicken coop cleaned out, the long-awaited-and-needed chicken coop door installed, plus the outside and inside of my house thouroughly cleaned and company ready. I seriously thought I could finish the stairway and bathroom remodel projects, as well as the screen porch, flower garden and barn restorations and another couple of books, not to mention that desperately wanted front entryway and pantry, but I guess they will have to wait until next years event.