Saturday, February 28, 2015

Snow Day Ramblings

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Not a whole lot to write about today. We have been enjoying our little snow day(s). Even though I complain about winter, I do love the snow. It is so beautiful...a great reminder of everything new. 

Last night, I made some yummy fresh bread and some homemade chicken vegetable soup. It was all DELICIOUS; perfect for a cold and snowy evening. At first, Lil' Man complained about having to eat soup...but in the end, my soup won him over. He asked for it again this morning. You can get the recipe for the soup here and for the bread here.

Yesterday morning, we were getting ready to go outside and take care of the animals (this time I made sure he left the house when I did...there would be no waiting around for a "no show" this time) when he told me something of major concern to him. Apparently, it had been bothering him since the day before.

Lil' Man: "Mom, I need to tell you something."

Me: "Yes."

Lil' Man: "Well, do you remember yesterday when you told me to put the clothes from the washer into the dryer? (I nod) "Well,  do you know that dad told me to pick up the mess on the living room floor too??"

Me: "Okay..."

Lil' Man: "Don't you know I can't do two things at the same time?! It is impossible!"

Me: "I'm sorry, Daddy and I didn't know you had something else you were supposed to do when we asked you to do something."

Lil' Man: "Well, you guys need to pay attention. I can only do one thing at a time."

Cinderella, anyone???

Of course, in the story of Cinderella the little animal creatures loved her. Yesterday...the rooster pecked him. He was NOT impressed.

Life is not all that bad for Lil' Man though. 

He was able to enjoy some snow time this morning after helping take care of the animals.

Trying to catch snowflakes on his tongue.

He and his friend had a blast playing outside in the snow this afternoon...

On Thursday, we got him his first Bible. He was so so very excited. 

We looked at several different Bibles and then we found this one. We were all pretty excited about it. Our church is doing The Gospel Project and this Bible features it. So awesome.

You can find out more about it here.

Here is a snippet (that I love) from the above link:

"Speaking of Jesus, Christ Connections help kids grasp how every story points to Jesus and His saving work on our behalf. Connecting the Old Testament stories to Jesus helps us see past the difficult Bible passages (like the cycles of sin and punishment at the time of judges and prophets) and focuses on Jesus, the only One who could pay the penalty for our sins once and for all."

Lil' Man was so excited. He read it all the way home...about 50 minute drive.  He was recalling so many of the stories he has learned at church and was excited to see where they were located in his Bible. 

He thought it was pretty cool to have his name engraved on his Bible. When deciding which font style to have his name in...he chose the script font over the block font..."because it is so fancy!". 

Well, that is about all I have to say for right now. It is time to curl up with a book, enjoy my favorite essential oils that are diffusing, and procrastinate coming up with something for dinner. 

Happy snow day, friends. :) 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Reluctant Homesteader: We Are Done with Winter

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Well, this week has not been all that exciting around here. We have not been able to spend much time playing with our goats, begin working in the garden or do anything else outdoorsy. Thanks to some frigid temps and some snow, it has been a bit miserable to be outdoors.

One particularly cold and snowy morning this week, I discovered my little "helper" was otherwise indisposed to doing morning chores. This was, of course, after I was already outside waiting, watching for him, and...yes, waiting some more. He was supposed to be bringing the bucket of goat feed down. That never happened. I had to trudge my way back to the feed shed to get some food for them. 

Thankful for a warm coat while I was the cold...while it was 7:00 a.m.

I don't blame him though. No one wanted to be out in that weather. My chickens only came out long enough to get some food and a dribble of water to quench their thirst.

My goats? Well, they did not go outside. Period. I read somewhere that goats don't really like to get wet. That, was no lie. My goats do not care for any form of precipitation. The whole day went by and they finally came out for about two minutes right before evening. Then, back into their warm and dry little abode they went. 

Our big excitement for the week was when that sneaky coyote decided to come back around one morning. He didn't get any chickens this time. I was able to run outside, scream and clap my hands, effectively scaring him away. I also, may or may not have made the best decision by trying to track him down...with my little 9 mm. I wandered around for a while (which, by the way, made me late to my morning ladies' Bible Study)...but he was long gone. 

I hate that coyote. I literally hate him

Well, off I go to prepare for the next round of winter weather. Here are some more pictures to enjoy of my little farmyard crew (ignore all the annoying shadows)...

I always have to include a picture of Miss Franny

Isn't this little grass box nifty? L made it so they could have fresh grass to eat without destroying the grass. They LOVE it.

Miss Galina (Greek, not to be confused with the Spanish word gallina)...I think she is so beautiful.

Enjoying an apple

Josie does not like to share with Shiloh. She sneezed at her (which also sprayed onto me) and would head butt her to keep her away from the apple.
Josie. I decided to go with Josie as her name. Her attitude often reminds me of Josie Pye, from Anne of Green Gables.

Sweet, little, skittish Shiloh

Sunday, February 22, 2015

My Story

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The grace that saves them is the free undeserved goodness and favour of God; and he saves them, not by the works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus, by means of which they come to partake of the great blessings of the gospel; and both that faith and that salvation on which it has so great an influence are the gift of God. -  Matthew Henry Commentary

Have you ever had that moment when something you have heard/read over and over finally makes sense? I mean, the reality of it just hits you square in the face and you are left stunned, wondering why it has never sunk in before. 

I blog about a lot of things...but, if you read anything I write, I am sure you have noticed that I tend to talk about God, Jesus, The Gospel, and grace...a lot. One thing I have never shared, is why. When you are consumed with something, it tends to be a part of every thing you say and do. 

Let me share "my story" with you.

Ephesians 2:8-9 tell us that, For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (ESV)

I spent the better part of my life trying to be "good enough" for God. Even though I was saved as a young girl, I still thought I bore the responsibility of making sure I kept my salvation safe by being good and doing my best never to sin. Religious legalism at its finest.

This poor young girl (me) felt the heaviness of was a weight too great to bear. So every time I felt like I had sinned...I would ask Jesus to come back into my heart. I figured if I was sinning, I must not have really been a Christian. 

Guilt, shame, and fear is what drove me in my "relationship" with God. I needed to please Him and earn His favor by - going to church (as often as I could), memorizing scripture, abstaining from all the sinful shenanigans all my other friends were engaging in. This mentality led me down a path to self-righteousness and, ultimately, a life apart from God and His mercy, grace and redemption. 

Feeling like a constant failure, it became easier to believe in God and just not think about having a relationship with Him. I loved Him. That never changed. I just...was tired. 

I stopped reading His Word, going to church was no longer important (until we had Lil' Man, then guilt drove me to making sure he had a church to go to...but that would only be when it was convenient. Which, was not often.), and my lifestyle reeked of worldly things. Even though I thought I had made things "easier" on myself with my new version of being a Christian...I still could not get rid of that fear and guilt. It was always silently gnawing at me. 

A few years ago I felt God drawing me near.  A real relationship with Him is what I so desperately wanted.  But there was that mind was still wanting me to think that me being a good moral person who loves God = a happy fulfilled Christian. I was slipping back to a place where I had already been. 

This is where I am thankful for a God that cares for me, despite myself. 

He listened to the prayers of my mom and dad, who saw a struggling daughter. He gave courage to them to not be afraid to prod me and challenge me in my belief in and walk with God. 

He paved the way for my brother, who in his mission work overseas, was ministering to my heart during our many skype conversations.

He led my family to a church where The Gospel message is not only taught, but lived out. It was in Sunday School where the sweet beautiful message of God's great grace and mercy was exemplified through our Sunday School teachers. It all finally began to sink in. The children's director invited us to have Miss Priss dedicated and in our pre-dedication class her words to us, the sweet words of The Gospel Message, resonated so soundly. We are so thankful to be a part of this wonderful group of believers and love that they are our church family. 

Since, discovering the true meaning of Ephesians 2:8-9, my life has changed. I know that I am undeserved of salvation. I no longer seek to earn it. It is a gift of grace, through Jesus Christ. 

I wake up every day knowing I am a sinner. I know I am flawed. I know that I need to die to my sins and cling to Jesus. I can't live a sin free life, day, moment on my own. It is in Jesus, through Jesus, and because of Jesus that I am made new. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17 

Letting go of religion and clinging to Jesus has been the best thing that has ever happened to me

Reading God's Word, memorizing Scripture, going to church...all the things I would do before to please God, I do now because I love God and desire to know Him more. I know that doing these things do not guarantee my salvation, but they do, rather, sustain me. Reading my Bible isn't a chore to cross off my to-do list, praying isn't something I do when I happen to remember while in the shower or driving down the road. It is a time I have come to covet and enjoy. 

The last couple of years have been the best years of my life. God is doing awesome things in and through me. My marriage and my family are alive and thriving because of Him. To the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. (Romans 16:27)

As my Sunday School teacher would say...It's all about the simple Gospel Message.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Reluctant Homesteader: Chickens and Goats

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We were at Atwoods yesterday picking up a few things for our little farm and we were in the store only a few moments, when I heard it. The sounds of cute, little, fluffy chicks! I left L looking at some clearance table and me the kids made a dash to the chick corral. 

One of my favorite times is when they bring in the new chicks. It was all I could do to not scoop up some of them and bring them home with me. Lil' Man felt the same way. He is used to being able to pick out a few chicks every spring and then raise them inside until they are big enough to go out the big chicken yard. It is such a fun (albeit, at times, stinky and messy) experience. 

**It is definitely a commitment, so please don't run off and buy some chicks that you aren't able to (or won't properly) take care of. Just go visit your local feed stores to admire them. I do hate seeing all the chicks being bought at Easter time by people who will end up killing them by not taking care of them correctly.**

This year, we bought some young hens that should be close to laying. In fact, one of them has began to lay. It is an ever-so-tiny egg...I am pretty sure that is is crazy (she behaves like she was dropped on her head as a young chick) Franny who is my current layer. She is the family favorite. How can you not love her?!

I did find out this week, that I do not have 7 hens and 1 originally thought. I was watching Bertha (remember our Behemoth of a hen) do some very questionable things this last week. You know, things that make Lil' Man say, "Ohhh, chickens like to lay on top of each other to stay warm.". Then, yesterday "she" also started sounded terrible. I call it the awkward-teenage-boy crow. So, now just Bert, our other rooster. 

Miss Priss loves being out with and chasing the chickens.

We are now one week into our new venture of owning goats and I have officially spent WAY too many hours reading how-to articles and blogs about goats and caring for them. I want to make sure we are doing everything...the right way.

 This first week has been, I guess what I would call the "honeymoon phase". The chores haven't become chorish and every little thing we get to do for our goats is fun. Even filling up their water container is an excitement because we get to be out there with them. 

We have enjoyed hand-feeding our goats treats, like apples, while talking to and petting them.

One morning, while the goats were bunking with the chickens, I went out to begin my routine of getting my animals taken care of and I was convinced someone had stolen my goat. Shiloh was missing. She was not where I locked her up with the other one the night before. Then I heard a little ruckus inside the actual chicken coop area. 

I then saw this:

When they say goats can fit through small areas, they weren't joking.

Here is the Chicken/goat duplex (Chickens on the left and goats on the right):

Inside their little home:

Now, if we could just come up with a name for our sweet (sometimes spunky) doe. Any suggestions are welcome. I can't just give her any name. It has her. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's What?

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This weekend is the ever-hyped, but mostly dreaded, Valentine's Day. People that are single, dread and bemoan it. I remember. People that have a special someone, often stress out over this holiday more than Christmas. The pressure is there. It is the day where everything is supposed to be magically perfect.

We don't do Valentine's Day at our house. Early on in our relationship we discovered this is the day we ended up fighting the most and getting the most irritated with each other by holding each other (and this day) to a ridiculous standard. We aren't perfect the rest of the 364 days of the year, so why should we expect perfection from each other on that one day? 

We aren't grumpy unhappy people, we just do things a little different for/on V-day. We do fun little things with the kids, we sometimes get each other things (usually in the form of Twizzlers (for him) or chocolate (for me) (and not the fancy expensive kind...the good kind, you know, like Hershey's kisses and M&M's). We bought each other fishing licenses one year. We are just...real with each other. We don't make reservations and drop the kids off somewhere. We will probably be eating Taco Bueno, pizza, or McDonalds (yes, we are those people who actually eat there). We learned we are imperfect individuals made perfect in Christ, not each other. 

Everyday, in one way or another, we show love to each other and find ways to celebrate each other and what we have in each other. (Please do not misunderstand this by thinking we walk around smelling roses and dance some sort of Cinderella waltz all day. Like I said, we are imperfect. We just choose not to dwell and fester on the imperfections.)

Sometimes, our love is in the things that are said (or not said).

When my husband (while at work) receives this message a few days ago from me...

He doesn't freak out on me. He doesn't get mad thinking of the work he will have to do to help make this happen. He just...loves me, his imperfect, sometimes spontaneous, should-have-checked-with-her-husband-first wife. 

I, in turn, do not go all... the midst of our imperfections.

In case you are curious...the goat thing, did happen. Here is where we are with that.

Picking up the goats:

First we helped vaccinate and deworm them:

Then it was time to load them up and head home:

Now, time to introduce them to their new home:

Then it was time for L to get to work

I'll update on our little goat shed the meantime, they are bunking with the chickens.

Lil' Man is loving the goats too:

Although, he wasn't crazy about helping out in the early cold morning , he still did...with a sort of happy heart:

We are excited to add Miss Shiloh and Miss ? (we are renaming Vicki) to our little family. We are hoping for some yummy milk this summer! 

So, happy Valentine's Day, y'all. I hope everyone has a great weekend that with your special someone or your friend who will stay up with you, eat way too much ice cream and watch a ridiculous amount of Netflix with you. :)  


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