Monday, July 18, 2011

Tomorrow Will Be An Exciting Day!!!

Hi everyone!  Just wanted to take a quick moment to share about something exciting that's going on tomorrow!  You may be familiar with a recent prayer challenge I took, and you may not be!  It was amazing, heart changing, and led me also to a new favorite author!  The book then was called Warrior Prayers and geared at praying scripture over our sons.  It's became a favorite and a tool that I find myself using for our entire family....and as a guide when it comes to applying scripture to cover any and every situation and family member with the power of God's word! 

The new book is Notes To Aspiring Writers, Your Dream God's Plan

Anyhoo....I dare say she's probably gone and done it again and I can't wait to get my hands on this new eBook!  The launch day is tomorrow and surrounded by an AWESOME launch day giveaway package geared for aspiring writers and to include a Kindle WiFi!  Someone will definitely be very blessed as a winner and I know so many more of us blessed with the encouragement sure to be found in the new book itself! 

So stop by here tomorrow, check it out!  What a great way to get introduced to the concept of eBooks.  It was so foreign to me just a couple of months ago....intimidating also.  But it's cake, it works, and it's so very affordable too! 

Monday, July 11, 2011

From Cherry To 'Sun Dried' & Little Workers On The Move

Against my ongoing wishes.....the garden dies down for the summer.  I am grateful for the abundance we've had, what we've been able to share, and the veggies we've received from others!  It's been a wonderful first garden for us, amidst the challenges this spring and summer have brought.  We've learned some great lessons on what and how to plant next year.  I also see now why the Bible so often uses the examples it does about planting, harvesting, reaping, sowing, and so on.  There's a life lesson in all of it, and even more....a lesson from our creator.  For now, I continue to water a few tomato plants and plan for a late summer planting for early fall harvest....or so I think!  Still doing my homework on that one, so any and all input would be greatly appreciated! 

The chickens continue to grow!  I catch myself looking out these days for the treasure of their first layed egg.  In the meantime, I've been kept full on fresh eggs from Holly's chickens!  Who knew they could come in so many different colors!

Cherry Tomatoes.  How in the world do you preserve cherry tomatoes?  That's been a question rolling around in my mind for a few weeks, as that is one thing we have grown well!  So many of them have been nibbled away by a venturing child's hunger, a visitors pleasure, or this Mama's enjoyment!  But I had a TON left on the counter top this week that I didn't want to go to waste!  So after a little research, we have come across a wonderful way to preserve this fresh bounty!

-First, wash your tomatoes and line cookie sheets with wax paper 
-Then slice each tomato in half and lay face up on the cookie sheets.
-Sprinkle with salt.

And they should look like this (along with the happy child if they get to help!).....

-Place in your oven at 200 degrees
-Let 'oven dry' like this for somewhere around 2-3 hours
-Remove from oven when they feel chewy but not hard
-Enjoy a good snack (we ate ours by themselves and with cream cheese on crackers)
-Stick the extras in a freezer bag for later on in the year

Sorry about the picture everyone!  We got a little carried away with how great they tasted so I forgot to take a picture until after we'd already helped ourselves to a good handful....or two!  And I suppose I better share just exactly WHY I don't know an exact time to leave them in the oven!  First, I started them off the first hour on only 175 degrees not being sure how they'd do.  After bumping them up to full heat....I forgot about them!  Not until in my bedroom piddling on some cleanup, with  Holly from Tucker's Homestead Blessings reading and blogging on this here computer did I realize it!  I was about to tell her about how preserving and such always helps me feel better when I'm worrying and fretting over something when it dawned on me and the sentence ended in a shrieked "THE TOMATOES".  We ran to the kitchen, with curious ears from the other end of the house soon to follow!  After a good round of laughter, we had these yummy treats!  And plans to spice them up or sweeten them for a new twist next time!  Perhaps most priceless of all will be the memory of a mad dash to the oven after remembering "THE TOMATOES"!

Now, onto another topic and the reason why these here children are so happy and proud of themselves!  They very well should be as their behavior and motivation has been OUTSTANDING the last several days!  And I for once have a peace that we're finally getting where we need to be in what may be the scariest, most dreaded topic in my house........
ORGANIZATION!!!!  Yes, that word actually came out of my mouth to be followed by some accomplishment!  You see, I have an organizers heart, believe it or not!  This is something I've been yearning for for quite some time!  Although I've wanted to be, tried to be, and in some small ways succeeded in the last few seasons of our life....we have a long way to go.  Because somehow, LIFE HAPPENED in the midst of my intentions!  I say that with a smile and a laugh because I love this family more than anything and we're blessed to be where we are today!  Entering into this world of organization has been HARD EARNED for this here Mama!  The kids LOVE IT, are THRIVING ON IT, and STICKING TO IT.  So enough of the talking!  Now to present.....TA DA!!!!!!!!
Some for the kids......and some for Daddy & Mama!
Motivation, Reward, Discipline, Accountability (for me too), and Reminders....all summed up in that simple little accomplishment of ORGANIZING our family and life's activities in one central place!!!  There's such a great feeling of accomplishment for each of us at the end of the day.  I suppose that at times it's proven a bit much for our little redhead.......

And yes, that is a mama and baby opossum sleeping next to him, every night!  It was a vacation gift from his Daddy, and for good reason.  Since possibly the day he was born, he's carried a nickname that has grown on us all and just become what we call this sweet boy.....he's our POSSUM!  And definitely the cutest one there ever was!

 Lord, help me to have a merry heart that does good like a medicine; and not a broken spirit to drieth the bones.
 (from Proverbs 17:22)

Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than a house full of sacrifices with strife. 
Proverbs 17:1


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Beautiful Girl, A Precious Heart

It is my greatest calling to raise my children in the way that God intends.  I aim to raise my daughters to be Godly women, homemakers, and women after His own heart.  I aim to raise these boys to be Godly men, heads of their own homes and families the way that God intends.  I fall so short more times than I care to admit.  But thankfully, I'm not in this alone.  The love of Christ and the grace of God is bigger than I will ever be, and greater than any of my mistakes.

Last night, my sweet baby girl cut her own hair.  We cried.  I wanted to be angry with her, but mostly, I was just sad.  I hope more than anything, I've given the right reaction to this event.  She's perhaps even more sad than I.  She knew even before I was aware of the haircutting fest that she had done wrong.  Even more, she feels a sense of loss over what she loves to call her 'princess hair'.  Today at the beautician, she cried again because she didn't want to 'let it go' and have shorter hair.  And even once more when she said, "what about braids?"  So this precious child of mine is left to deal with the sense of loss and an action she can't take back....even if it us JUST over her hair.

The haircut itself has no eternal consequences.  Hair is just hair, it will grow back.  My reaction however, could mean many things to her tender heart and growing mind.  So....I mourned with her.  Then I dusted off my own pride and remembered my role here.  My role is to remind her that she's ALWAYS beautiful, even if she were to have no hair at all.  To make sure she absolutely knows that she will always be a princess.  Yes, she cut her hair.  Her reaction and heartache is discipline enough.  My reaction is to be one of encouragement and of teaching.  A lesson that yes, we wish her hair was still long.  But that it WILL grow back.  Not today, not tomorrow, but over time.

As we left the beauty shop, she hugged my neck and told me, "Mommy I not going to cut my hair eh-er again, okay Mommy?".  My job is to help her see, to help her know, that she is still and will always be beautiful.  Hair is just hair.  But her heart.....that has been entrusted to me.  To love, protect, nurture, and point in the direction of Christ.  There will be days in her life that I will let her down, no matter how hard I try.  I pray these never come and that if they do they will be few and in such small ways.  I  thank God His grace will be enough for her....and she will grow to the wonderful woman that He intends.  Because on the days that I won't be perfect for her....HE WILL!   

I love you Gracie girl!  You are as beautiful today as you were yesterday and will be tomorrow.  Short hair, long hair, or no hair.  You are beautiful because you are YOU!


Monday, July 4, 2011

Back To Business

It's back to work for me around here today.  Good, hard work....the kind that leaves you coming up for a great big breath of fresh air as the July heat pours sweat down your back.  Am I back to 100%????  I suppose that's a rhetorical question as my 100% may be another's 10% it's hard to figure out just exactly what that may be.  So I'm done trying and just back to tending what needs done around here.  In the meantime, I THANK GOD I'm able to 'do' again.  And I will praise Him for the good times and the hard times of the last couple of months.  Thank the Lord He is enough, because I will never be on my own! 

In the meantime around here, I see some readjusting taking place.  Most of the harvest has come to an end.  There's been much learned and the garden served to be plentiful.  I'm on to nurture the tomato plants that are still making, keep some water on the melons, and the rest is over for the summer.  Time to research and plan for my next planting.  I do believe it will be sweet potatoes and cabbage, along with whatever other vegetables I find suitable to thrive and make at this time of the year. 

The chickens...oh the chickens.  I pulled another deceased foul from the chicken house today.  And of course, this happened AFTER my husband left for work, by only about 30 minutes.  Lesson more Sexlinks around here.  I'm curious to know if it's just a less hardy breed or just not meant to be raised in such a hot climate as ours.  Either way, every chicken we've lost has been of this breed only and the Rhode Island Red's continue to thrive.  I'm excited for them to start laying eggs!  It will be wonderful to have fresh eggs every day!  Just last week I scrambled eggs for the whole family for the tune of a WHOLE DOZEN!  So yes, it will also be practical as well as enjoyable.

This round of planting, my very first garden, dies down to it's final fruits and I'm left turning the thoughts and lessons learned around in my heart.  That is a post for another day.  Today, I take care of what is mine to care for and I thank God that He's blessed us as He has.....even when I'm unsure of why things happen the way they do.  Thoughts of what is next on the agenda around here are exciting!  I see myself planning for the fall and some of the things I'm most excited to and ready to take on are.....

~Soap making
~Homemade cleaners
~Natural bath and body products
~A fall garden
~Baking our own bread
~A huge harvest of pears from my father in law to preserve
~Grandma's homemade Apple Butter to preserve
~A great big bunch of apples from Pennsylvania to make Apples for pie with Grandma's recipe

And of course and never the least.....loving and raising my children the way the Lord intends.  Like I've said before....not because I'm a great Mom.  But because without His grace, I would never even be good enough to take on such an awesome charge. 

 On another note, our vacation was absolutely amazing.  All of us, from baby Cass to Daddy had the time of our lives!  This was our first ever family vacation and we have memories to cherish forever!  Perhaps the greatest is just being together.  And knowing that we don't need the world's fancies to be complete.  Just each other and most of all, that perfect grace I mentioned before.  I thank God for my husband, these children, our families, and everyone in between.  So let me take a moment to share some pictures of our time in Branson!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

At Grandma Gracie's

Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. 
                                           Jeremiah 6:16a