Monday, October 31, 2016


We walked through the house one last time.

We built this house. We. Built. This. House.

We spent 5 years building THE house.

My husband and boys did everything, from the ground up. Truly EVERYTHING.

The girls and I helped along the way. (And when our last trailer full of furniture and office stuff gets here, I'll post pics of these little hard drive with those pics is in that trailer...along with our clothes, coats and Lord knows what else)

Walking the halls and rooms of the house one last time was surreal and unfortunately rushed. It was raining that day. We were scrambling to get all of our belongings in the many different trailers and vehicles while the skies let loose. Even heaven was crying about our leaving.

The new owners were anxious to get in and had called and said they'd be coming up the drive within the 1/2 hour! We weren't going to make it. We really wanted to be pulled out of the drive before we watched them move in to our beloved home.  were running through to make sure everything was clean and perfect. The kids were in the cars waiting. It was hectic and crazy! Not at all the way we thought our good-byes would be.

Packed like sardines we began our journey south. We were leaving 25 years of memories, familiarity, and family and friends. All that we had built was here and pulling away was really strange for some.

We got about 20 minutes down our curvy road when Steve realized that we would never make it to Tennessee with the Budget truck. It was WAY to top heavy!

We (all 6 vehicles and trailers) pulled up into a parking lot to figure out what to do. Steve was almost paralyzed with anxiety. This truck would never make it down the back roads to our new home without topplng over. What were we to do? After what seemed like an eternity, pacing back and forth in the parking lot, calling other truck companies, unloading and redistributing to other vehicles we decided to drive to Chicago and possibly get another truck. That meant unloading this one and reloading another in the dark.

This was NOT how I thought our trip was going to begin.

to be continued...

Living outdoors~


Farmhouse Chicks

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Where have you been?

It's been over 2 years since I've written here. We've been doing a lot of living and not a lot of blogging.

We  (all 8 of us + 2 dogs) have recently moved cross country from the frigid North to the very warm (okay, HOT!) South. We have gone from 27 acres and a small river to 2 acres and a HUGE river.

Here is the back story to our present craziness.

Over 30 years ago my husband had a dream to open a vocational training facility for underprivileged youth. (That is a story in and of itself...maybe you'll read about it in his book one day). The Lord told him that he'd work with kids that came out of families like his own; those that could relate to him and his own upbringing.

Once we met it became our collective dream and vision for our future. Everywhere we have lived, played and prayed has been with this vision ahead of us.

After some soul searching about how this would come about we moved to the North where we became Bible students. During this time the Lord called us to live with my in-laws and asked my husband to restore his childhood home. Little did he know at the time that what God was really asking was for him to be open to allowing HIM to restore what was stolen from him in his childhood.  (again...the topic for his future book).

Fast forward 8 years. We bought property on a meandering river wide enough to canoe and kayak in and small enough to walk across to the other side. It was here that we planned on investing in the youth from our vision.

We built a home, had 5 children, co-led a home fellowship, ran 3 businesses, homeschooled and began to have Father/Son and Mother/Daughter campouts on our property. Our goal was to have a boys home, build some vocational training buildings, create a farm and give underprivileged youth a new start.

The campouts were great! Time spent teaching relational concepts to the parents and children was rewarding. Themed weekends brought understanding of basic areas of life and taught invaluable communication skills. We have kids today in their 20's that still talk about those days. It became a favorite every year with the community kids.

We built our BIG HOUSE after 5 years in our carriage house. This house was built with the intention to have a boys home on the 4th floor. It took us 5 years to build and 3 years after living in it we looked out our back bay window at the 27 acres, cabin and river and said to each other, "We need more land."

We felt the Lord leading us to sell and look for a large tract of land in the South. Now, you have to understand another part of the story. Steve knew from a dream that he had that he wasn't to leave this land until his dad passed. He knew he would be instrumental in his father coming to the Lord in his last days. However, at this time his dad was fairly healthy.

How do you put a house up for sale when you have this understanding? Well, just a few short weeks later his dad had some testing done and found out he had lung cancer. We knew we couldn't leave then. However, the Lord said to put it up for sale. So, we did.

9 months later the house was still up for sale and his dad passed from cancer. It was a cold day in March and we went to visit his dad in the nursing home. It was very apparent that it was his last day. Steve had spent many hours visiting with his dad over the past 3 months. Praying with him, speaking truth to him and asking him some hard questions.

We spoke to him, sang to him and prayed over him all morning. It was a sweet time of healing. In the afternoon, Steve had been prompted by the Lord to go home and make his casket. (You can read about that on my Amazing Grace post.) 2 hours later Steve, my boys and girls had made the casket, the lining and the trim for his father to be buried in. Upon our return to the nursing home, we knew it was only a matter of minutes. How do minutes pass so slowly and yet so quickly at the same time?

Steve asked me to sing Amazing Grace, his dad's favorite song and only request at his passing. Choking back tears and a voice overcome with emotion, I whispered and then sobbed and then sang so his dad could hear and be comforted. Steve held his hand and kissed his forehead and then his father opened his eyes for the last time, a tear slipped out of one eye, as if to say, "thank you." He took his last breath and was gone. Steve closed his eyes.

If you knew anything about the relationship my husband and his father had, you would know there was a miracle taking place here. (I'm thankful he will be writing a book about this someday).

We thought for certain that our house would now sell. We hunted properties in the south. We traversed hundreds of miles each year looking and dreaming.

It took 3 years from start to finish to sell our home. 3 long years where we didn't get involved in any long term commitments. 3 long years where we put our lives on hold thinking surely it was going to sell sooner.

January 2016 the Lord said, "Get ready. Tie up all your loose ends."

We had an offer in March and sold in June.

We had 30 days to move 8000 sq. ft of stuff, 8 people and 2 dogs from 27 acres to 1 camper, 1 tent, 1 complete house renovation and 2 acres.

See why I haven't been blogging much?

Welcome to the present day life we now live. Camping indoors and outdoors and finding freedom and laughter in the little things. Our first stop on the way to living out our dream on the lakeside farm.

Stay tuned for month 1 at the be continued.....


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 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! 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 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 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!

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