Thursday, May 15, 2014

Puddling up

The sky is grey and the rain is still falling.

I'm watching as rain hits a puddle beside the chair on the porch and wonder.

Each raindrop falls. Sinks into the earth. Or puddles up on the ground.

Like us at times.

Sometimes I am sinking into the earth and refreshing it.

Sometimes I am puddling up.

Today is one of those days where the house is quiet and I'm wondering.

Comparing.

Comparing myself to all the other people out there with a heart for the hurting. A heart to help.

And wondering….how do they do it?

How do they get up day after day and encourage the lonely? Bind up the broken hearted?

How do they handle the heart break of those that don't accept their love? Those that will go back to their old ways of depraved living?

Despair is all around. It's engulfing at times.

Today…I'm puddling up.



How do I make a difference? How do I help release the captives?

Overwhelming. Tiring to think about.

But, I know that it's what I am called to.

I am compelled to reach the broken, the destitute, the lonely.

Praying to be the drops that soak the thirsty earth. Becoming a refreshing drink for the one who has chosen, just this once, to dig their roots deep enough to be nourished.



Refreshing. Renewing. Rebuilding. Restoring.















Thursday, April 10, 2014

Our Winter in Pictures






Winter has been L-O-N-G here. Months of long, cold, bitter weather.

I could complain. I could make a fuss. But that's not like me.

I love all the seasons.

BUT….this winter brought with it some serious doubt as to wether or not I can safely say that I like winter. The jury is still out. But….

Here is how we spent our winter...

We warmed up the coop with some soap making. This is our olive oil, coco bar. Smells earthy and cleans beautifully. Looks like chicken poop. I know. Deal with it. 




We spent our fair share of time drinking hot tea and talking about where life is taking us. Lots of round the fire talks, late night pillow talk, and heart to heart discussions about young adult life and how we choose to define ourselves. 


The fashionista has been creating some original artwork. We'd love to see her open an Etsy store, but she says then it'd be work. She likes the joy of just creating. 


The Farmhouse Artist began a pencil drawing of her brother and future sister-in-law. It will be a memorable keepsake for them. 


Fashionista practiced some silhouette photography. 

And we reveled in the beauty of the God's photography and artwork. 






Thursday, March 20, 2014

Amazing Grace

 I have never appreciated this song as much as I have these last few days.

 Have you sung this in your church?

Or maybe in your own quiet time?

It's a powerful hymn. 

AMAZING GRACE

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound 
That saved a wretch like me. 
I once was lost, but now am found, 
Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, 
And grace my fears relieved. 
How precious did that grace appear 
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares 
I have already come; 
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far 
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me 
His word my hope secures; 
He will my shield and portion be, 
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, 
and mortal life shall cease, 
I shall possess within the veil, 
A life of joy and peace.

When we've been there ten thousand years 
Bright shining as the sun, 
We've no less days to sing God's praise 
Than when we've first begun.

His grace made perfect in us. His grace extended to us even when we don't deserve it. 

Today we lay to rest my husband's father. 

But let me take you back to the last few days. 

My father-in-law had lung cancer and fought bravely.

Last Tuesday I went to visit him and tell him of all that was happening in the outside world. We talked about the weather, current events and even talked about memories we had together. 

After about an hour of me talking…him listening and not really responding…except for an occasional look in my direction…I decided that maybe we should sing. He used to sing all the time. 

So, I began with some hymns. 

Oh the Blood of Jesus
Amazing Grace
Be Thou My Vision

He listened for awhile. Then I began to sing them all again. 

Then as if he was in the choir again….slowly and at different intervals he began to hum them with me. 

Amazing Grace seemed to be his favorite. 

I was encouraged by this and continued singing. 

He would move his eyes….show recognition and then hum again. 

It was a sweet time with my father-in-law.

That was Tuesday. 

Sunday came. 

My husband and I stopped in for a visit.

He didn't look so good. Eyes closed and shallow breathing.

We stayed most of the day talking to him. Singing at different times and praying with him.

We knew this was probably the day we would be saying good-bye. 

At 3pm we both had a strong urge to go home and make his final resting place. 

You see, my husband was asked to make a simple, yet personal casket for his dad. 

This was an honor.

With great care my husband selected some of the lumber we felled from our shared land. Ash trees from the property we shared with his parents would be what comprised his place of final rest. 

Within 4 hours my husband and boys had constructed a simple but hand hewn casket for their grandfather/father. And my girls made the inner blanket.






Simple. From the land and full of love. 

It was finished.

We hurried back to hospice to be with him. 

We arrived at 7:30pm.

We spent more time talking and loving on him. He wasn't responding at all anymore. 

Breathing…but barely.

At 8pm we began to sing again. 

Amazing Grace…how sweet the sound. 

We sang that over and over and over. 

We cried. We sang. We sang and we cried. 

We held his hand. 

Steve stroked his hair and kissed his forehead. 

He told him it was okay to go. 

His brother and sister spoke kind words. 

We began to sing Amazing Grace a little louder. 

He closed his mouth, opened his eyes and tears fell. We watched as he took his last breath. 

And then all was quiet. 

It was 8:24pm.

It was the most peaceful passing.

We truly believe that he tried to mouth the last words of Amazing Grace with us.

We are not guaranteed tomorrow.

We aren't even guaranteed our next breath.

Reconciliation is ours if we make the time to ask for it.

Redemption awaits.

Amazing Grace.

How sweet the sound.


Farmhouse Chicks





Sunday, October 20, 2013

How to harvest Echinacea and make an Echinacea Tincture


With Fall upon us it becomes that time to harvest.

I just love the harvest season.

I plant and cultivate all summer long, wait patiently for the plants to come forth with their blooms and and strong root system.

One of my favorite herbs is Echinacea.

Echinacea has been a staple in our home for over 26 years. We use it for colds and flu every year.

We have always bought our herb from a reputable online company and we make our own capsules.

But, 5 years ago I decided to plant Echinacea with the goal of someday harvesting it.

Well, as you know years go by and it doesn't get done.

Until this year. I MADE myself go out to the garden and dig up about 30 stalks. I have over 300.

I wasn't sure how this was going to turn out or how many stalks I would need to make a quart of tincture.

After wrestling with the roots and my shovel (about 30 minutes) I decided that would be plenty and I would get more if I needed.

Working with my daughter, I rinsed the roots with the hose sprayer. I passed them to her and she clipped the leaves and roots off and put them in our basket.

When everything was washed we brought them in the house.

We managed to LOSE all the pictures of this part of the process......ugghhhh!

But we do have them from the chopping stage.

Here goes:








This has been chopped off the stalk. This is VERY dirty. Do the washing outside, but when you have a big clump like this....you will cut in half and realize there are rocks and more mud inside that you didn't even touch with the hose. So...please wash again...you don't want dirt in your tincture. 


 Wash all the leaves...they should be green, not yellow. Then chop and set aside. 



Add to jar with chopped roots and layer. Compact down as much as you can. 





Add 95% proof Vodka all the way to top and seal. Put in a dark place and shake once a day. This will be ready for straining in about 8 weeks. The longer it sits the stronger it will be. 

When our 8 week time is up I will post the finished product! 

Share you favorite tincture recipe. We'd love to hear from you!





Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pumpkin Bread and Wild Berry Vanilla Tea


The coop is in full FALL swing.

The chicks are pulling out their wooly socks and tall boots.

This chick is loving all things FALL.

The air is crisp.

The leaves are turning their hues.

The days are getting shorter.

The harvest is coming in.

And we are cuddling up with a blanket, some home-made pumpkin bread and a hot cup of tea .











Now on to make soap! Gotta keep those pin feathers clean!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What do you believe?

Have you ever looked up at the stars at night?

We live way out in the country where there is no light pollution. On a clear night you can see billions of stars. I mean billions....

The Milky Way is in full view, the constellations telling their stories across the sky.

It always puts me in awe of our Universe and our Creator.

There was once a man who lived under the stars. His universe consisted of a desert, a wife and no children.

He lived a life of significance within his nation, but what he longed for was a son.

One day the Lord said to him, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward."

This troubled Abram for he said, "What can you give me Lord, for I remain childless. You have given me no children; to a servant in my household will be my heir." Gen. 15:2

Then the word of the Lord came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir." He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars---if indeed you can count them." Then He said, "So shall your offspring be."

Abram believed the Lord. Gen 15:4-6

Abram BELIEVED the Lord. Let me say that again....Abram BELIEVED the Lord.

Abram had been waiting on the Lord to give him a son for YEARS! He was 99 before he conceived a child. His circumstances were saying the opposite. He had lived in the "shame" of having no son to carry on his legacy. Everything in the natural told him that this would never happen. That he would remain childless.

Not only did God say he would have a son, but he told him to look up at the stars and count them....and so shall his offspring be.

Now, follow me here. Abram is a man. No different than you and I. Real feelings, real misgivings, real emotions, real doubt, real questions and really without a son. Not only is he told he will have a son in his old age, but he's told he will have offspring as many as the stars.

Would this make you fall over? Would this make you question your sanity?

Everything in his life screamed the opposite. Abram had a choice here. He was either going to tell himself that he was crazy and dismiss the idea or he was going to believe.

He chose to believe.

He isn't believing in himself.

He isn't believing in good fortune.

He is believing in the WORD spoken to him by his Creator. The Creator of the universe. The one who put those stars into place.

How often do we believe our circumstances? How often do we allow our circumstances to dictate what we believe?

I believe Abram had a hope of a preferred future. It all stemmed around having a son that could carry on his name, his legacy.

What do you believe?

Are you allowing your circumstances to dictate your belief? Are you allowing what you can physically see with your eyes dictate what you believe about your future?

Do you have a hope for a preferred future?

Walk out tonight and look at the stars. Get quiet and listen for that still small voice to speak His promise to you.

Then: BELIEVE








Monday, July 15, 2013

Diving In



Ever hear that song by Steven Curtis Chapman called "Dive"?

DIVE

It's a song explaining my life right now.

Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac all rolled into one!

My 15 yr old Farmhouse Baker was recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. We spent 3 days in the hospital wrapping our minds around the fact that our healthy daughter could have such a disease.

After countless hours of needles, insulin, poking, IV's and doctors we were able to figure out how we might live with our new lifestyle.

I knew of people with this disease, thinking that maybe it had to do with their diet. BOY WAS I WRONG! So far from the truth!

I became educated and humbled all in the same hour.

This disease is an auto-immune disease that affects the pancreas. It shuts down the body's ability to produce insulin.

It can be familial, (family passed down) or from a virus. We don't have any of this on either side of the family for as far back as we know.

They (the docs) think she contracted a virus that shut her insulin makers down.

Let me educate you a little: (it's the teacher in me!)....

Your pancreas secretes insulin to carry your carbohydrates to your cells. It's the "key" that unlocks the door for your carbs to move in and be taken to where the body needs the fuel. Carbs are fuel for our bodies.

When the "key" (insulin) isn't unlocking the door....then they bounce around and dump into your bloodstream. This produces HIGH sugar levels.

We knew something was amiss with our girl when she began complaining of being INCREDIBLY thirsty. She couldn't get enough to drink. Then as summer approached (just a week or so into her thirstiness) we noticed she was VERY thin.

Off to the scale. 10 pounds down.

Off to the pediatrician we go.

Yep, sugars were at 486.

Off to ER we go.

That was 8 weeks ago.

We have cried, shouted, hugged and sang and accepted this call.

We don't understand why God has chosen her, but we know He wastes nothing.

I am so proud of this girl! She hasn't let this stop her from ANYTHING!

She has written a touching song that the Father put on her heart. It was the words He spoke to her in the dark of the night, when she was frightened and feeling alone.  It will make you cry.




Life is definitely different. Shots, pokes and needles will be her life. Always making sure we have her medication, needles, glucometer and extra juice on hand at all times. Carb counting has become quite the "real math". And educating her friends has been fun. They all scramble to be the first to give her an injection!

But, it doesn't come without it's dangers. Uncontrolled and we could have kidney failure, coma, and a host of other problems!

So thankful she has taken ownership.

On the flip side:

For 2 weeks now she has been complaining of not being hungry and when she eats she feels horrible. She's lost 6 more pounds.

We go tomorrow for a Celiac test. Of course nothing is definitive yet, but we see a pattern.

So, we are phasing out gluten and transitioning to gluten free.

I would love to hear from all my friends that have gone gluten free, or have any gluten free recipes that you have tried and can say ...."this was great!"


Diving in!




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