Monday, February 8, 2016

Prayers

You know how I said this world was a mess?  Well, I meant it.  It still is.  Since I wrote that post just last week, a young boy of 11 has gone to be with Jesus, ending his earthly battle with cancer.  A mother lost a son, sisters lost a brother, brother lost a brother.  My precious friend Alyssa is facing her third major brain surgery today, at the young age of 13.  She is a fighter, and a lover of people.  She is nothing short of amazing.  I have a family member in the hospital with an infection.  He's improving greatly, but will still spend several days battling to rid his body of the infection that had moved in.  He's strong and he is blessed by a loving family. So much pain and struggle.

I find myself uttering lots of little prayers to God lately.  Not longer prayers surrounded by quiet, but small, silent prayers lifted throughout my days.  God hears them just the same.  And the pain and struggle around me send me straight to the Father.  He is the one who comforts and provides hope through all of these situations.  Our family prays together also.  I am hopeful that my children understand that when things seem to be spiraling out of control, and when the mess keeps getting messier, that they will always.always.always turn to Jesus.  I want prayer to be their first response in good or bad.  Every.single.time.

What about you?  Is there suffering and pain in your life or in the lives of those you love?  I hope you know where hope and comfort are found, and that you are talking with the Father, the Great Healer, the Comforter each and every day.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Clinging


This world is a mess.  There, I said it.  It is a big.fat.mess.  So much so, that there are days that I simply want to curl up in a ball and weep over the ugliness of it all.  The pain, the struggle, the sickness, the heartache.  It's overwhelming to say the least.  The darkness looms all around, and often it seems there are no easy answers, no way out, no light at the end of the tunnel.  A mess, I say.

My heart has been heavy lately over the many troubles swirling around me.  Friends with a child facing a third brain surgery for cancer.  So young and absolutely precious, yet having to face such big questions, big surgeries, big pain.  I cry out to God for her healing, and for peace and strength as they maneuver more hospitals, more surgery, and more medication.  Another young boy, who had completed his treatment and is now facing new medical challenges.  A scary time for the whole family, as well as those who love them.  Our earthly bodies struggle. 

We don't even have to watch the news to know there is trouble all around.  Murders, fires, car accidents, explosions, tornadoes, blizzards, droughts, politics, campaigns, disease outbreaks, and on and on the list could go.  It is a jungle out there.

Add onto that the burdens and challenges of everyday life that many of us face at different times...financial woes, job loss, anxiety, parenting challenges, busy-ness, health, dental woes, etc. It can feel absolutely overwhelming.  At least that is how it makes me feel.  Overwhelmed.

But it only takes a minute to find a perspective shift.  One that helps put my heart and mind in a better place.  The peace we can find, even through the yuckiness of this world, is that we are not alone.  There is one who is always with us, always walking beside us, always loving us.  And though the waves come crashing down around us, though the flames seem to be growing wild, God is with us.  So for today, I am clinging to this verse from Isaiah 43:  "Fear not, for I have redeemed you;  I have summoned you by name;  you are mine...I will be with you."  

Lord, we need you now.  We trust You to always be with us, through good and bad.  You never leave us.  You love us...we are yours.  Amen.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Piles, Piles, Everywhere!

I am typically a person who tries to keep my home picked up and organized.  I am not necessarily a clean freak, though I could easily fall into that if I let myself.  I love a tidy environment, and truly enjoy the process of organizing and creating systems.  The reality, though, is that my home is a shared place where life happens.  If I was the only person living here, it would be much easier to keep it just the way I like it.  But I am not.  I am so thankful to have my people here with me, and I try not to make big battles out of keeping the house perfect.  Sometimes, as life is happening at a fast pace, the piles begin to appear.  I'll have several projects going on at once, and without any extra space, it all happens in the common areas.  My living room and dining room become the office/warehouse/workroom.  That has happened this week.  AHHHHHH!  The truth is, the piles make me twitch.  I find it hard to relax when the mess surrounds me.  But I am working on what I can do each day, and trying to remind myself that it's not the most important thing ever to keep a perfectly clean home.  Messes happen, piles appear, and life goes on!  Just take a look at some of the piles around my home:

I cleaned out my closet and these hand-me-downs are going to a friend.

Items for one part of our business.

More business supplies.

Shipping supplies...boxes are everywhere!

Egg cartons from a co-worker, ready to be filled with eggs from our hens.



Only PART of my Dittos for Kiddos consignment inventory, needing to be entered and tagged and sorted and packed away for transport.

Sadly, these aren't even all of the piles!  Ha!  Yes, there is a lot going on here, but it is mostly good stuff.  Working together with my family on these projects is invaluable...we are learning great lessons by working together.  Hopefully, several of these projects will also yield a paycheck!  Ha!

Okay, I'm off to homeschool coop, then back to tackle some more piles!  I have a feeling the piles will get worse before they get better, but that's okay.  Work is good for us!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Fifteen


January 27, 2001 was the day I became a Mrs. to my very favorite Mr.  Nathaniel and I made a commitment to God and to each other that day.  Every single day since then, we have gotten up in the morning and made the decision to keep that commitment.  This morning he texted me that he would choose me all over again, and I told him that he already does.  Every single day he chooses me, and I am so, so thankful!

We've packed lots of things in these last 15 years.  Some good, some not-so-good.  Some sickness and some health.  Some really, really HARD things, and some really, really GREAT things.  We've had two beautiful children, and also had to release two beautiful babies to Heaven.  We are living our dream homeschooling and homesteading on our little farm.  We have laughed 'til our sides hurt, and cried 'til there were no more tears.  We have driven a granny car, a mini-van, and a farm truck.  We've rented apartments, condos, and houses, and we've owned a couple of houses, too.  We've made every single one into a HOME.  We have chased kids, dogs, and chickens.  We been angry, happy, sad, frustrated, elated, and ecstatic.  We have apologized, asked for forgiveness, and forgiven.  We love.  Yes, we love.

Happy 15th Anniversary to my Mr.  I love you!



The BIG Day!  January 27, 2001.


My Mr. Holding Natalie and Levi on the day Levi was born.

Mr. and Mrs. in December 2015.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Days...


Hello friends!  Another week of January has come and gone.  It happens so quickly.  I tell my children often that the days are long, but the years are short.  They like to complain that the days are way too long, especially when they are having to work, or when they are bored and I won't let them rot their brains in front of the TV.  Don't think we never watch TV, but I do try to keep it limited.  That box would draw my kids like a magnet all.the.time. if I would let them.  Sigh.

In an effort to continue the habit of posting here frequently, I thought I would hop on for a little update, complete with a few pictures (which are my favorite).

The last week was spent working on homeschool, procuring inventory for our business, chores, and some fun!  We sent well-wishes to my cousin for her birthday, and also celebrated my step-grandma Kathryn's 89th birthday with some yummy Mexican food.  El Fenix is her favorite, so El Fenix it was! I also reached my 14-year-cancer-free day!  WooHoo!  I'm so thankful for the early detection of that ovarian cancer, and for the team of God-selected doctors who cared for me through diagnosis and surgery, as well as afterwards.  I truly could NOT have had a better team on my side, and I have no doubts that it was the hand of God at work in my life.

Here are a few photos from the week!

I love this...except for the grammar mistake!  Ha!

This is me 14 years cancer free!

Nathaniel took Natalie and Levi to see the new Star Wars movie.  They LOVED it!

Precious Grandma Kathryn...looking good at 89 years young!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cleaning Out, Cleaning Up

It's that time of year!  The time when everyone takes an interest in cleaning out their homes, de-cluttering and organizing for the year ahead.  As someone who used to be a professional organizer, I think about these things often throughout the year.  As the Christmas decor is packed away, the more open and clean feel definitely sparks me on to more and more cleaning, though.  So, that's what I have been working on around here.  Some of the projects have been large, and some of them small.  Some of them are complete and marked off the to-do list, while others will be on-going.  Here's a look at some of the cleaning out and cleaning up that has been happening around the homestead.

Cleaning up our eating habits!  Hello green smoothies :)

Cleaning up and organizing work areas...making space for the new business stuff.

Cleaning out old teaching supplies.  I'm not teaching Pre-K anymore, so these are outta here.


Cleaning out closets, mine and the kid's. 


After cleaning up in the garden, my sweet helper looked like this!  Her partner-in-grime was just as bad.  Lots of cleaning up laundry for me!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sunday Encouragement

I recently read a fantastic book by Nancy Ortberg titled Seeing in the Dark:  Finding God's Light in the Most Unexpected Places.  It is a fantastic read, and one that I highly recommend.  If ever you've felt distant from the Lord, you'll find great encouragement in the pages Nancy writes.  As a bonus, it is a fairly short book, which makes it a quick read, though you will find yourself thinking about it long after you've turned the last page.  If you are like me, you will read through, highlighter in hand, and re-visit the book often.  Yes, I liked it.

In the book, Nancy writes this:  "Perhaps this is where the spiritual life is so at odds with the rest of life:  in the pace.  Eternity has already begun. yet we race around as though our time is limited.  God acts slowly over time, in exquisite mystery.  We are restless, anxious, driven, and consumed...often by all the wrong things."

This passage struck me. I often find myself trying desperately to keep up.  I'm often bound by a crazy schedule, running from place to place, tending to a hundred things all of the time. My heart is anxious and consumed...but with what?  Seeing the world flying by, and feeling the pull of all.the.things that the world has to offer me and my family is difficult.  Wanting to fit in, look normal, and be a part of all the great things out there is a struggle we all face.  We are constantly bombarded with messages like "Today is the day!"  and "Act NOW!"  It is a constant unsettled feeling.  It is as though if we don't hurry up and (insert anything here) then we will miss out.  If we don't hurry up, we will be sorry.

I am a worrier. I have extreme anxiety and spend much wasted time worrying about things I cannot control.  It's not my finest quality.  I'm ashamed of it.  I am fully aware that my sin of worry does not add one day to my life.  (The truth is, the worrying just may take away days from my life!)  But her words, "We are restless, anxious, driven, and consumed...often by all the wrong things."  Yes, this.  I worry about all of the wrong things.  I waste energy and time being restless, anxious.  Though my heart craves the calm, the worry wins out.  I am a mess.

The perspective change came when she said, "Eternity has already begin."  Let that sink in.  We are promised forever with Jesus Christ.  AND IT HAS ALREADY STARTED.  I do not have to wait in order to rest in the peace of Jesus.  I can slow the frantic pace of life, and rest in Him.  The debt has been paid.  I don't have to wait until Heaven to walk with Jesus...I walk with Him now.

The God of Heaven, with whom I will spend eternity, is the VERY SAME God of my life today.  He is Lord of these days, hours, minutes, and moments, just as He is Lord of the Heavens.  And I trust Him.  I can slow down, savor Him, and watch Him unfold each day as an exquisite mystery.  In His time, not mine.  No hurry, just trust.

No hurry, just trust.