Jun 5, 2012

Love & Joy

I've been studying to give a little morning devotion at our upcoming ladies' retreat. And you know what, as I study, I'm overflowing with thoughts and words. Me, overflowing with words. Imagine. Though I'm not as talkative as I used to be since I found that verse years ago that says "Sin is found in a multitude of words." But, when I'm excited about something, look out. So, here's a tidbit of what God's been impressing on me...

LOVE and JOY, joy and love. They go together. If you have joy, you can love. Love isn't an emotion as we think today. It's an action. Okay,okay, we do 'feel' loving, warm and fuzzy, but real love costs you something. It includes sacrifice. When we really love we sacrifice our wants for others, our comforts, our preferences, our ways, our time.

To have this type of love, we first need joy. Joy is something we possess in spite of our circumstances. Little children have joy. Look at the small child's wonder at the world around them. Their joy in just being alive is contagious. Everything is a marvel. We possess that same ability, though by responsibilities, hardships, hurts, pain and unforgivness, it gets pushed down. Sometimes, we can't find it. It may be way down there, like a diamond in mountain of coal, like a Dandelion root, like the bottom of my laundry pile, but it is there.

How do you find it? Make an effort. Look around you and begin to recognize all that has been given you as a gift. Everything we possess is a gift from a loving creator. He has given us all things to enjoy. He has overcome the world and its problems and pain, he has overcome the grave, and he forgives our sin. His grace is abundant; his mercy rich. And, when we know him, we get to spend an eternity with him! There's joy in that!

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
Psalm 28:7

When you find your JOY, which is part of who God is, you will find that joy is strength giving, hope giving, it gives us focus and it gives us the ability to truly LOVE. Don't let anyone or anything steal your JOY!

Joyfully yours,

Apr 21, 2012

Quotes to remember~

As I was browsing some magazines, I came across a handful of quotes worth re-quoting...

To be a woman, you have to look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man and work like a dog.

Courtesy is owed. Respect is earned. Love is given. 

It doesn't matter the price of the dress; what matters is what's in the dress.

Mistakes are a fact of life. It's what you learn from them that counts.

Three little words all women long to hear, "You were right."

Good manners will often take you where neither money nor education can. 

A real southern girl will own an iced tea pitcher, a deviled egg plate and have a jar of bacon grease in the fridge.

Not sure about you, but I see some truths here!!
 Have a blessed day :)

Apr 9, 2012

Front Porch Prettiness for Less Than Ten Bucks~

  I like the architecture of our front porch. The red trim and cedar beams set it off, but due to lots of animals running about, sometimes on the porch, I haven't done much with it.
 Today, I was inspired to make it look nice.

First, I thought about the "feel" of the space. Formal, cozy, rustic?  I chose rustic after I pondered all the "stuff" I had lying around that would either be unappetizing to large farm animals and dogs, or indestructible. Most all of the things that fit that description were "rustic." (Which to me means old and not very useful!)

In this pic., I'll begin with my favorite thing. That would be the black wicker planter to the far right. That belonged to my great-grandpa, "Opa" -German for grandfather. I spray painted it a shiny black. It is very old and I honestly believe the many coats of paint are what is holding it together. It's filled with red impatiens which will grow to fill and overflow the planter. I can hardly wait!

The  next items I gathered were the old goose decoy from my dad's home, the old wooden box we found here in a barn, and the antique chicken drinker sitting in the box. There's also and old tin pie pan we feed the dogs in. ~It adds to the decor. :) Those things made a nice grouping.

 Kaitie gave me the star for Christmas and I hung it with a shirt pin- those really sturdy pins that come in men's shirts. I got the hole started with a tiny nail, but used the pin so as not to make a big hole in the siding.

The second opportunity for spray paint beautification came when I decided to use these old pots. They were UGLY, but a coat of hammered bronze and cream paint did the trick. Again, they are planted with impatiens which love the shade of porch. The flags cost less than $3 for the set at Walmart and add the color the porch needed. As the flowers grow, the color factor will be all the better. (Oh, and the large rocks- a dog deterrent. If it's too much trouble, they won't bother digging up the flowers. Hopefully I outsmarted them. Eventually, the flowers will cover the rocks.)

This old bench was the one thing I had outside when we lived in the shop while building our home. I said please, please be careful of the bench... then Dylan accidentally then ran over it with the track loader. Yeah. Smush. But, Ron saved the day with his welder. My hero.

It got a coat of stain and the metal spray painted with hammered bronze paint. Looks better than new!

And the old milk can... I like to paint on metal. Usually I paint the homeowner's house on one, with a welcome message. I have one in our home with a mule deer. Painting on metal is fun. I have no idea why. But, here this old gal got a horseshoe necklace and welcoming "Howdy." No new paint for her. She would be too fancy for the old horseshoe then.

And the finished product. Better than it was, probably not as good as it could be...but until I'm guaranteed no cows on the porch, it'll have to do!!

Feb 29, 2012

Making Peace with Your Housework

I've not been blogging much. There's so much out there to read, I figure I should invest my time in the things in my home that only I can do. Things only I can do, like train our children, manage our home, plan hospitality and so much more! That is the calling of us women, to do and be "So much more..."

Often, that calling drags on us. We are stressed and worried. Tired and hurried. I want to encourage you to LET IT GO! God had given us wonderful things that only WE can do. Whether you are a stay at home mom, a working (outside the home and at home) mom, a single mom, a mom of one or  a mom of 10, there are things only YOU can do.  Don't forget those precious things.

Hugs, kisses, kind words, encouragement, cuddles, stories read, a little money given to a grateful teen, a day out together, a long talk while actually looking at one another and not being in a hurry, and so much more is awaiting you! 

And, what about those things that are drudgery to you?? Laundry, dishes, meals, cleaning, shopping...they must be done. Why not work together? If that is not possible, as sometimes here everyone else is busy with their own things, do them with joy. And, if you are a born again Christian, you are serving your Lord. He knows where he put you, he knows what you have to do. Do it for Him! Surrender and be at peace. 

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might..." 

Ecc. 9:10

"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men;" Col. 3:23

I once asked my husband, "What can I do that would really matter to you?" You would never, never guess his answer. It was, "Have clean socks in my drawer." Really?! I can do that.  Now, honestly, there have been times when he is not happy with me and I'm thinking, "What is your problem? You have clean socks in your drawer." :) But really, you get the point. The little things matter. Some people speak the love language of "acts of service." Some people speak "quality time." Some "physical touch." There are a few more in a book called The 5 Love Languages . Good things to know! If you're speaking one language and your family members another, well I say again, it's just good stuff to know.

There is so much available to us. We have the virtual world, the real world, and our world. Then we have God's perspective and His world. Live there. It has the best view. Serve by doing those things only you can do. When you're comfortable and have a handle on those, branch out to serve others outside your home. You will feel more peace and be more centered than if you let a schedule run you.

This is such a simple principle, yet so many are missing it and drowning in dissatisfaction in their homes. The home is meant to be a place of peace and refreshment, not of dreary toil. Sometimes we are at a place where we need help indeed, but sometimes it's our attitudes and perspectives that need the most help.


Feb 6, 2012

What's for dinner? "Chewing on the hard things..."

God often gives us things to "chew on."  Sometimes they come through His word, sometimes they come through the mouths of others. Do we take those criticisms, corrections, and commands and begin to chew on them and try to "swallow"?  Or do we simply spit them out?

He renewed that thought in me this morning while drying my hair...odd timing. His timing is like that- the still, small voice when we're allowing quietness in our lives, or when it sneaks in. When we are too full of ourselves, our agenda and busyness, God is crowded out. Oh, he is still there, but he can not teach and help our spirits the way he can when we diligently seek time with him. Soon our surroundings will influence us more than God's Words to us.

So, back to "chewing". I remember hearing people say something smart and end with, "Chew on that a while!" I suppose most of you have heard that term. Often, things are said to us that are hurtful. Either it's the thing that was said, or the way it was said, or both. But, often what we fail to realize that there is typically some truth in most things we do not want to hear! We need to be humble enough to take the meat off and spit out the bones, so to speak. Take what is said and try to make it useful for us! This, my friend, will make you grow! And, as for those rude people who tell us things poorly and hurt our feelings. Just love them anyway. Doing otherwise won't make you feel any better, though you may want avoid placing yourself  in the middle of a food fight with them!

Jan 17, 2012

Expect the Unexpected

Tonight when we arrived home from the boys' basketball game at 11 p.m., I went to clean our "stuff" out of the Suburban. As I grabbed my full, large cup of soda from McDonalds, it struck me it was now an empty cup and I did not drink it. Something had hit the straw and it pushed through the styrofoam. The soda ran out the bottom of the cup all under the floor mat. (Don't worry dear, I cleaned it up. It will be good as new after daylight comes tomorrow.)

Then I decided that some lambs needed to be checked on. I hadn't planned to do that, but felt it was needed. As soon as we got down there, I saw a twin that looked weak, and sure enough by the time we got it to the house Joel thought it had died. When I put the warm bottle nipple in its mouth it sucked and sucked. The poor thing hadn't had much nourishment since it was born yesterday.

Sometimes its hard to tell how much milk they are getting. You just have to watch the quiet ones closely.
(When  lamb hunches its back its a good sign to keep an eye on it.)

After the little one ate, its heart rate came back up, then I put it to bed with the "babysitter." 
 Hershey, of course. 

She licks them and loves them. 
Tomorrow, if the little one gets stronger, she'll go back in with mama.

So, with that done. It's time for bed... and what to my surprised eyes does appear, but a very naughty beagle who has been in trouble for sneaking in and laying on the couch. 

Apparently, he's very smart. He ran past the living room tonight and remained undiscovered longer...
...on our bed!
I whacked him with a throw pillow after Dylan and I were done laughing at him.
Now, Goodnight all!! 

Jan 5, 2012

Chocolate Meringue Pies

 Chocolate Meringue Pie

No Jello pudding in this one. It's the real deal and turns out rich and yummy. This recipe is for one regular pie. I doubled it, chose to use deep dish pie plates, and prepare crusts from scratch. 

Note: A child wearing a chef's hat adds extra fun to making pies. 


  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked (or bake your own with the pie crust recipe here)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar


Don't ya love the "Get tough." shirt, and the camo apron? 

 He's a manly man chef.

  1. Mix together sugar, cocoa, corn starch and salt in a medium saucepan. Gradually mix in milk. Cook and stir over medium high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to medium low; cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat. Stir about one cup of the hot filling into the egg yolks; mix back into the custard. Return saucepan to heat, and bring to a gentle boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in vanilla. Pour hot filing into crust.
  2. In a clean bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, and continue to beat until stiff and glossy. Spread evenly over hot filling, sealing meringue to crust.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden.

Jan 4, 2012

"Homeschooling" As We Know It

Day one of return to homeschooling after our Christmas break:
After our "school time" was over, while my groggy husband was recovering from waking at 2:30 in the afternoon, I went to him frustrated, "I cannot get so and so out of bed, and by the time we are all in the same room to begin school, someone tells me that they have farm work to do, and, and..."  He wisely said, "If they won't get out of bed, drag them out." And he said, "Get them up extra early to get the work done before school." Hmmm. I had already though of that, but had no commitment to doing it until after my pity party was done. Then, there was no where left to turn except to fix it or forget it. I was not going to forget it, that makes them lazy and irresponsible, and makes me grouchy. So, I'd best get resolved to fix it.

Day 2 of this week of schooling:
His tail has almost grown back,
after being attacked earlier this fall.
Everyone fed and dressed appropriately for the public by 7:45 a.m. and ready for farm work. Two boys handle the the breaking of ice for the sheep, looking for new lambs and any other sheep maintenance needing to be done. They also feed the rooster. (I like that rooster. He thinks he's a sheep because he's the lone chicken here right now, and he's funny.) Those two were out the door. The other two boys are responsible for moving cows, as we rotational graze, and feeding the dogs. As they headed out, I heard, "The farm truck is out of gas." (Translation- this means they will be absent from school for a couple of hours if they have to walk.) Okay, I can get frustrated, which changes nothing, or fix it. One kid feeds dogs, the other goes with me to town for gas and other feed store items for the sheep (salt, mineral and the like). Shew, we got it done. All done. The new lambs taken care of, the cows moved, the sheep salted, and back in the house by 9:30 to start book learning. Ag class was done. Everyone got an "A."

One of the Ag teachers.
Day 3:
All up, fed, dressed, chores done and back in the house by 9:15 a.m. Yes! They worked hard, got done and now have time for things they'd rather be doing. Like this.

Joel went on a "Civil War hike." 
Homeschooling is fun. It's great to be together as family all day long. Here at the start of the new year, I am re-organizing, re-planning, reviewing and really having a hard time making myself do those things. I just want to get down to business, not figure it all out.  It is not natural for me, nor easy. I am a go-to gal. I want to get up and get going on something I like to do, something artsy and creative. But, if I see my time with my kids as an investment, I can do it. I'm gonna fix it, (fix me and them) and not forget it! By the grace of God, with prayer and perseverance we will all come out better and have a good, productive year!

My buddy, Trouble, and her twins

"Triple Trouble"

Soft, warm, cuddly and harmless. Raising sheep is great!

Masonry class...they're getting an "A."
That is real, heavy, creek rock, not faux stone.