Monday, December 9, 2013

The Gift of Giving

The Gift of Giving

I can’t believe we’re down to the last days of December! As I’m posting this, there are only 15 shopping days left for me to buy all the presents needed for all the special people on the “Nice” list this year.

The Farmer and I have decided that we are not going to spend as much as we have in the past. With nine children, their spouses, our eleven grandchildren, his mom, my parents, siblings, secret sisters, missions, charities, and random strangers—the spending had gotten so out of control, it looked like the national deficit! (Before 2007)

Although we have never had a need that has gone unmet, we are far from having untold riches within our reach. Every year, with Christmas looming near, our financial belts always seem stretched to the point of snapping. Nevertheless, each year, as we watched our children rush to their stockings and then to the tree to unwrap their gifts, the financial sacrifices we made seemed all worth the strain…but then came the aftermath. And I’m not talking about the mounds of wrapping paper and mountain of boxes that had to be cleaned up and taken to the burn barrel (after closely examining for any stray “important” piece of someone’s toy). Or the assembling of the Barbie house, or the new bicycle, or the new whatever electronic contraption was popular that year. No…the aftermath was the financial devastation that our monthly budget suffered until the spring thaw. I guess that is one way to make the Christmas season last longer!

However, overspending, stretching the budget, or strapping our finances does not only cause us a hardship, but it also makes us careless stewards of God’s rich blessings. God has called us to be stewards, or caretakers, of what he has given to us, so he can use them for his glory. Our material possessions are not eternal, but what we do with our money and time here on earth will someday be taken into account in Heaven. As Christians, we are responsible for what has been entrusted to us.

 “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen”. Romans 11:36

Everything belongs to God, and if you are a Christian, He has entrusted you with earthly possessions that He desires for you to use to share His love. And in this world of entitlement, there are lots of opportunities. Nevertheless, here is a list of things I consider (and hope) are legitimate.

Goodwill is all about putting people to work. Every item sold and donation made to Goodwill helps fund job training programs and employment placing services for people with disabilities or employment challenges. Find out how you can make a difference >>Here<<
I just went shopping there and found 2 blouses for $3.00 each.

I donate often to The Ronald McDonald House, mainly because I give them my loose change every time I stop by McDonalds to get a burger. My granddaughter spent the first seven weeks of her life in ICU, and I saw what a hardship it was on her mom and dad traveling back and forth to be with her each day. This charity makes it possible for families to stay close by, often at no charge, while their most precious possession is getting the care they need.

Salvation Army 
It's super easy to donate to this charity, they are the ones standing outside WalMart and other retailers, ringing their bells and making it impossible for you to walk by without feeling a little guilty. I always make sure I have $1.00 ready when I walk out, just to quiet my conscience.

Give the gift of life…donate blood through the American Red Cross. And I saw on their website that when you donate your blood, the Keebler Elves will bake a cookie just for you!

Toys for Tots collects new toys from October through December, and distributes them to the worthy children in the local communities in which a Marine Corp Reserve Unit is located. These are easy to donate to, also. Just buy a new toy in a store that supports Toys for Tots and drop it in their box on the way out.

More personal ideas on giving:
·        Give a secret gift to a less fortunate family who you are associated with
·        Help an elderly neighbor with yard work or household duties
·        Spend time with someone who has no close family nearby
·        Encourage your kids to donate their toys (especially before Christmas)
·        Bake goodies for special people in your life
·        Give your words through cards, phone calls, and personal visits.

Got any ideas on other ways we can share God's gifts?
Leave a comment and share them with us all. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Being Thankful

It’s here again! Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away, so now I need to get busy preparing for it. We have almost 50 people at our house each year for Thanksgiving (actually the day after). I kept telling myself that it was November, and reminding myself that Thanksgiving was coming, but I guess it never really sunk in. Fortunately, I began receiving phone calls and texts from my (grown) daughters about preparations for the meal; otherwise, I would have procrastinated to the last minute (which is a bit redundant).

When I sat down to prepare my to-do list, I began thinking of Thanksgiving—it’s meaning, family time, past memories, and of course, a post for my blog. And instead of finishing my grocery list, I began writing (I would rather write than shop).


Since the beginning of November, I have seen people all across social media making lists of what they are thankful for. Most are doing one a day, so in 30 days they will have listed 30 blessings they personally recognize. This is a great idea, and we should all be numbering our blessings continually. However, yesterday at church, the preacher (who happens to be my nephew) [wow! That makes me sound too old or him sound too young…] Anyway…back to the point… he brought up the idea that Thanksgiving wasn’t about the things that we should be thankful for, but Who we should be thankful for. He brought up the idea that Thanksgiving should be less about the things we have and more about the Provider of these things.

The Bible tells us that all things were made by God, and that every perfect gift comes from the Father of lights. If you have health, wealth, and affluence, you should be thankful for God. If you’re sick, poor, or friendless, you should be thankful for God. No matter what state our finances, our family, or our influence is, we should be thankful for God.

It’s easy to be satisfied and happy when all is going well, rather than when we are facing trials and tribulations. However, there are many examples of people throughout history who have had the integrity to stand when all is lost, and probably the most familiar example in the Bible is Job.

Job lived the life of health, wealth, and prosperity. He had it all according to everyone’s standard. He was a successful farmer, a great father, a loving husband, and a faithful friend. He also had a testimony of one that worshiped God and avoided evil.

But one tragic day he lost everything. His animals were all stolen, his children were all killed, and he even lost his health to the point that his wife begged him to “curse God and die”. Even his friends were condescending and critical, falsely judging Job because they perceived his devastation was due to some deep, dark sin.

But Job did not waver in his faithfulness to God. He didn’t base his thankfulness upon his possessions, his family’s health, nor his well-being. In the first chapter of the book of Job, he clearly shows what he’s made of: “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped, and said, ‘Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’” He had gut-wrenching sorrow from his losses, but through it all he never blamed God nor accused God of being unfair. He continued to praise God for Who He is.

No matter what we as Christians go through, our first reaction to all situations should be “blessed be the name of the Lord”.

Give Thanks

Give thanks for His Power— God has the power to give eternal life. “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him”. (John 17:2)
Give thanks for His Person— The Father creates (Isaiah 44:24), the Son redeems (Gal. 3:13), and the Holy Spirit sanctifies (Rom. 15:16).  “Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord”.

Give thanks for His Provision— "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matt. 6:25-26)
So this Thanksgiving, amid the turkey and the pumpkin pie, I encourage you to count your blessings, but more importantly, meditate on the greatness and holiness of God.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Being A Sister

I find it therapeutic to write anything and everything that comes into my head. If it interests me, I will save it and at times go back through my random notes and reread them. I always mark my original works, because often when I reread what I’ve written, it all seems new to me again.

Recently I was going through a list labeled, “Things I know Something About”—very original, I know. The list included things like being a mom, being a wife, being a daughter, being a Christian, but one label was glaringly missing—being a sister. Was it because I didn’t remember that I was a sister, (which could happen) or has that been a relationship that had not been cultivated in too many years? This needed some pondering.

I am a sister in more than one way. I am a Christian sister to all who share my faith. I also have two sisters from my husband’s side of the family. We are sisters by law. And for a time, a dear cousin lived with my family through some rough teenage years and she became my sister by choice. But there is one sister that I didn’t choose, and she isn’t a part of a family of religious friends, nor did she come with a package in a legal covenant.

This sister is the sister that God chose for me. She is the one that was there before I was a glimmer in my momma’s eye. My first friend, my first playmate, and probably my first antagonist (although I, being the youngest, was most likely the antagonizer). Being the only two sisters, we shared many things including a bed, a room, and a brother.

Growing up, we were very different in our personalities and appearance. She was the pretty little blond girl with blue eyes, and I had brown hair and green eyes. She was more serious, I was a goof off. She was older, I was younger (still am and always will be—there I go antagonizing again!). But we had a lot of similarities, too. We both enjoyed spending vacations with our grandparents; we both know how important family is; and we both love sweets! J However, as time would dictate, we drifted apart over the years; busy with our own families, being responsible to our own duties as wife and mother, setting and accomplishing our separate goals. Nevertheless, as it should be with sisters, no matter how much time we spend apart, whenever we get together, it’s like time has stood still. Those first bonds we made together will last forever. I love you, Sister!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Porch Light

Coming home to a cold, dark, empty house is such a sad feeling. I've never liked it. Even if all of us were coming home together, I wanted a light to be burning some place in the house to welcome us home. When my children began to go places without me, I would always leave the front porch light on and the door unlocked. As they began driving, I would leave the front porch light on, the door unlocked, and wait up for them. Now that some of them have moved out and have their own homes, if they leave after dark, I stand by the door and wait until their tail lights go up and over the big hill and go out of sight before I turn off the porch light,

Fortunately for me, as each one grew up and moved away (as it should be J), there would be another teenager to leave the porch light on for. But with the passing of time and my increasing age, I found I couldn't keep the same hours as my last teenager (son #4), and would sometimes go to bed before he got home. But during the night some time, I would wake up, see the porch light was off, know the door was locked, and he was home safely.

Recently, son #4 was married. After we got home from the wedding celebration, I began to lock up the house and turn off the lights, walking over to the front door, I reached up to turn on the front porch light and realized I didn't need to leave it on.

“Leave it on,” I said to Myself.

“There’s no reason to”, Myself answered. “He’s on his honeymoon, I don’t think he’ll be coming in tonight.”

“But just in case there’s an emergency”, replied I, knowing that there wouldn't be.

“Well, maybe just for a little while”, Myself gave in.

But eventually, I had to go back and turn off the light and lock the door. I was surprised at the sudden feeling of loneliness that was brought about by this simple ritual of turning off the porch light. Although this signifies another chapter closing on Enloe Farms, there are still lots of stories to be lived out, talked about, and retold around our dinner table.

Just a note, I still have 2 teenagers at home, but they have to be home before dark! J

The Porch Light
The porch light shining through the night
Reminds me of God’s shining Light
That brings about some wayward soul
Who is lost in the world so dark and cold.

I leave the light burning on the porch
So none of my children will be caught in the lurch
The light breaks through the darkness dim
And guides them home to me again.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Life With A Knight

There was a certain peacefulness in the air, the rustle of the autumn leaves, the damp smell of a recent shower, and the gentle breeze wafting through her graying hair. Although it had not always been this way, at this very moment, she was content. Life’s vanishing moments played in the recesses of her memories. She found herself smiling at the remembrances of her beautiful children, and a small tear escaped down her cheek. Quiet laughter exhaled through her lips thinking of all the impractical moments they also had shared. There had been wearisome times, of course, but they didn’t matter anymore, and were always quickly forgotten.

But as she reclined in the Meadow of Time Past, there were other memories that would never be forgotten, these memories were of the Knight. Not a large champion, as some would think of a knight, but a common man of high character and moral tenacity. And although her Knight did not possess the strength of a horse or the agility of a lion, he had other striking traits. The way his piercing blue eyes could look straight into her soul and know what to do or say, or the way he continually stood before her and  impending danger. The Knight was a man of truth, morality, and grit. There were no others like him in the land, aside from his posterity.

She always felt safe when he was near. As they battled the giants, the dragons, and fought through the dangers that surrounded them, he led the way. The Knight always had his sword drawn. Even at times when she would ask him to put it in his sheath, he would never give in to her most insistent pleas.

Day after day, the Knight’s calloused hand would close around the dainty hand of the Lady, as they battled up the hill. Together they faced giants, dragons, and evil authorities. There were times of celebration, tragedy, and even abandonment, but they always faced these times together and their hearts became as one. He, leading the way, wielded his sword at all danger, and she was safely protected in his shadow.  And now, nearing the end of the battle, she knew the Knight had done his job well. She was confident that one day when he stood before his Lord, he would hear him say, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.”

Although I am not foolish enough to think that my life is perfect and that my husband is my knight in shining armor, I am wise enough to know that I have a great family and a great husband. He’s not perfect, but neither am I. (but together we almost are) J jk

But since today is our 37th anniversary, I wanted to let The Farmer know that I do appreciate his leadership in our family. And no, we haven’t fought any literal giants, dragons, or evil authorities (well maybe evil authorities), but we have fought against the Giants of Debt, Doubt, and Despair. And continually slay the dragons named Sickness, Indecision, and Busyness.

But together, and with God’s guidance, and the sword of Wisdom, we have survived. We have throttled the statistical dragon of divorce and infidelity, we have killed the giant of non-communication, and we have nourished the meadows of Love, Contentment, and Family. 

Happy Anniversary, Farmer!

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

The Farmer had one week of vacation left for this year, so he decided to take off and spend it with the girls and me. What could be more fun than spending a week here on the farm enjoying the sights and sounds of the blessings God has given us here on the farm?
So we wake up the first morning and The Farmer says to me, “Are you ready?”
“Ready for what?” I ask expectantly.
“Ready to start on the shed!” he exclaims.
Oh, right…I had forgotten this was a working vacation.

“Well of course I’m ready,” I say, “but I’m not sure we’ll be able to do that without help. The sidewalls are too high.”
“We’ll figure something out”, he assures me.
“Maybe we should call the boys over and see if they can help”, I comment.
“Everybody’s busy. We can do it ourselves,” he says dismissively.

We walked out to the shed and sure enough, those walls were high. The sidewalls, which we had planned to cover with tin, were 13’ high. I’m 5’2” fully stretched out and shamefully afraid of heights. The only thing I could think about was if The Farmer was going to be the one screwing in the screws, then that left me to be the one climbing and holding. I don’t do either one of those well.

So putting on a brave front, I climbed up on a 5-gallon bucket to hold up the first piece of tin, which had to be held up 4’ from the floor. I made sure my end was straight and secure, and waited (and waited) for The Farmer to screw it onto the wall.

Okay, this isn’t so bad, I tell myself, the first minute or two. It’s not as heavy as I thought. All I have to do is hold this up and he’ll have it done in no time. Wow, my muscles are starting to ache—still speaking to myself—and I think I let my end slip a little (and said as much to The Farmer, who waited patiently for me to tug it back into place).
“Can I let go, yet?” I ask.
“Well, can you hold it until I get a screw in it?” He inquires.
“How many?”
“A couple at least,” he says, as he picks up the level to mark where the screws are going to go.

Oh my gosh! I’m not going to be able to hold this much longer! Breathe, breathe…

About the time I think I’m going to drop it I hear The Farmer say, “Okay, that’s good. You can let go.”

Dropping my heavy, aching arms to my sides, I watch as he screws in several more screws, checking to make sure my end was held straight. We hang up a couple more pieces at that level, me counting down the minutes I have to hold the tin up and he diligently measuring and screwing in all the screws. At last, we stand back and look at the next row to hang.

“Well, we’re never going to be able to hang that row without help”, I summarize.

But The Farmer wasn’t so easily put off. “Oh, we can do it.”

I was sure he couldn’t see the height difference between my arm’s reach and where the tin needed to be held, so I stretched out my arm, as high as I could and said, “Look, this is as high as I can reach”.

“You can use the stepladder,”  he instructs, “and I’ll get the wagon and climb up in it ”.

Okay, that was a quick fix, and I’ve never seen anyone fall off of a stepladder, I assured myself, I’m sure I’ll be fine. We picked up the next piece of tin, held it against the wall, and I began climbing up the ladder. The first two steps weren’t so bad, but when I began to put the tin into place, I wasn’t high enough. So I stepped up one more rung. Still can’t reach.
“You’re going to have to go to the top step,” The Farmer stated as he patiently held his end of the tin.
“I can’t.”
“Why not?”
“Have you never read the instructions on this ladder? It says not to stand on the top rung.”
“You’ll be fine”, he assures once again. “Just be careful and don’t lean against the wall too much.”
So as I begin to precariously climb to the top of the ladder, I consider my fall route, just in case. It shouldn’t be too bad, I tell myself, I’ve seen my boys jump from heights higher than this 6’ stepladder. I’ll just jump away from the ladder, and hopefully miss the 5-gallon bucket I left underneath the ladder. And I need to fall away from the wall, or should I try to catch myself against the wall? Securing the tin to the wall and getting it lined up with the first row, I begin to lose my grip on the tin.
“Lean into it”, calls out The Farmer.
“You told me not to lean!”
“Well, lean in a little to help you hold the tin. But be careful not to kick the ladder out from under you”, he states obviously.

Securing my position, as much as possible, I successfully held the tin until he got enough screws in that I could let go. We hung the next few pieces without incident, and my confidence grew as each piece of tin was firmly fixed into place.

Wow! I was impressed. We hung all this tin up without injury. Looking at the third row that needed to be hung, reality set in once again. “We make a great team,” I encouraged, “but we’ll never be able to do the third row without help. I can barely reach the bottom of the third row even if I stood on the tiptop of the stepladder. You’ll have to wait until one of the boys can come over to help you.”

But The Farmer isn’t so easily discouraged. “Let’s sit down here and consider our options. I’m sure we can figure out something.”
This unwavering ability The Farmer has to look at a situation and conquer it comes from the encouragement of his Father who often told him, “There’s always a way to accomplish a thing, you just have to figure out the answer.”

I, on the other hand, am not so gullible; there are many things in life that I can’t accomplish. But I sat down with him anyway, to contemplate the situation (and to drink a cup of coffee).

We tossed around some ideas and decided to use the stock trailer to climb on top of, which seemed like a great idea because we would be able to stand on a large, flat surface. But when he pulled the trailer into the shed, and I began to climb the stepladder to discover that the trailer was still a large step away from the very tip top of the ladder, my confidence began to waver. “Maybe we should have the girls come out and help,” I suggest.

“I think we’ll be okay.” His confidence in his own abilities is so frustrating at times.

Wow…this is really high (back to talking to myself). I’ll be okay, I can hang off a rafter if I start to fall, except I’m not sure how long I could support my weight, since the tin proved to get too heavy for me at times. If I do fall, I need to tuck and roll, I’ve seen that done when people jump from rooftop to rooftop on action films. Be real that’s not going to work. If I fall, it’s going to be a splat! not a roll. Maybe I can catch myself between the trailer and the wall…

“Hey! Can you grab this piece of tin?” I hear The Farmer urge.

“Uh, no.” I can’t quite reach it.”

“Try harder.”

So I do and I did. I managed to get the first piece up on top of the trailer. Climbing up the ladder, The Farmer noticed he forgot the drill. So he climbed back down and started up again, going back down to get the level, oh, and the saw. He gives into my idea of having the girls come out to help, which was fortunate, because it ended up that we needed one of them on top to help me hold as he cut around the rafters.

As we began to finish that row on the wall, my fear of being on the trailer began to diminish. I was semi-confidently walking back and forth handing The Farmer the drill, or saw, or level. After climbing off the trailer (with much trepidation), I was feeling very proud of what we had accomplished. Between The Farmer, myself, and two teenage daughters, the use of a 5-gallon bucket, a couple of ladders, a wagon, and a stock trailer, we were able to do in eight hours what a crew of capable carpenters could have done in two.

“Looks great! So, what are we doing tomorrow?” I ask expectantly.

“We'll be closing in the attic over the workshop,” The Farmer replies.

I look up to assess the situation. “You’re kidding, right? We’ll never be able to do that without help.”

The Before...

 The first row

 The second row with the wagon

 The third row using the stock trailer

The cleanup



The After...

The attic (which we didn't need help with) :)


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Exercise Is So Over-Rated

Because I’m a full size woman, some people think it benefits me for them to tell me ways I can lose weight.

My favorite advice is when some skinny smart-aleck says, “Just stop eating”.

Wow, genius, I wish I had thought about that!

Although, I have had some good and beneficial advice through the years, nothing ever comes easy. If it did, I guess I wouldn’t continue to need it. With all the advice given, the most common denominator is get out and get some exercise.

I’ve been walking 3 miles almost every day for about 6 weeks, and to tell you the truth I don’t see what all the fuss is about exercising. In fact, I agree with the Bible, exercise is so over-rated. Well, the Bible doesn’t say it’s over-rated in those exact words, but it does say it doesn’t profit us much. (1 Timothy 4:8)

Seriously, I start out each morning dreading going on my walk. In the first place, I have to change out of my comfy pajamas before 6:00 and tug on my socks and shoes (although it has been easier since I lost 8 inches off my waist). Then I force some kind of energy food down my throat, so I will have enough strength to make it back to homeschool daughters #4 and #5. I go out into the cold, dark morning (well, so far it’s been pretty nice, but I’m thinking ahead). Then I unleash an over-excited border collie, who runs ahead and then back to me several times as I’m treading up and slipping down TWO long, precarious hills. Finally reaching the blacktop of a busy highway, I must keep the dog and myself out of harm’s way as we dodge and dart between all the cars and trucks (okay that may be a little exaggerated, but sometimes a vehicle does pass by).

Then horror of horrors! I have to come back home over the same two hills I had to climb in the first place, but this time the most dangerous hill is like a mountain standing between me and survival! When I first started walking, I literally had to stop 4, maybe 5, times before reaching the top. And even though I can usually make it to the top with only one stop, my heart begins beating so hard I’m afraid it will burst through my chest and my breath comes in quick, unsteady gasps leaving me barely conscious to make it all the way up the hill. My calves and quads begin to burn and ache (what if they freeze up and I can’t make it home?). My only choice is to stop and rest before my whole body shuts down. Seriously, how can this be good for me?

I finally make it home, stumble into the door (after watering Baxter), grab my water, and take a long, deep drink of it before switching on the ceiling fan and collapsing on the couch, where I’m forced to recover for the next 15 minutes.

And then this brings on a much bigger problem in my life. The people who know that I walk (and are responsible for encouraging me to get exercise) have turned me into a liar. I’m not kidding. The same people responsible for the trauma exercise has brought into my life, have now forced me to lie to them. The conversation usually goes like this:

Them: “So, are you still walking?”

Me: “Yeah”.

Them: “Great! I’m excited for you. Aren’t you glad you started?”

Me: “Yeah”.

Them: “Exercise is really good for you. Don’t you feel better?”

Me: “Yeah”.

Them: “Well keep it up. Don’t you feel like you have more energy?”

Me: “Yeah”.

What I want to say is “No, No, No”, I’m not glad to be exercising, I don’t feel better at 6:00 in the morning, and I don’t have more energy until after I’ve crashed on the couch. However, that would make them feel badly and make me sound like I don’t appreciate the benefits of walking. So, if you have any respect for me at all, the next time you see me please don’t ask.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Be A Mama, Mama

During calving season, we are always watchful. Although most of our cows are all seasoned pros (some too seasoned, as one is 13 years old!), problems still may arise during the birthing process. A calf may be too big, or turned wrong, or a heifer (first time mama) may not tap into her natural instinct and take care of that little wet thing she suddenly finds laying on the ground next to her.

The first calf born this season was born to a mama that had already calved 3 other times. I consider her a pro, so there shouldn’t have been any problems. And there wasn’t when she had the calf, but later, as The Farmer watched, he noticed that the calf was still in the same place where it had been born and that mama was too far away for safety’s sake. Upon further investigation, the cow just didn’t seem to be responsible at all. In fact, another cow was watching over her baby closer than she was. When the calf would get up to nurse, the cow seemed impatient and uncaring, walking away and kicking at her baby to get him to stop. Fortunately, he was very persistent and seems to be doing well now.

In the short video below, The Farmer is tagging the calf. Usually, he is looking over his shoulder hoping not to get mauled by an overprotective “mama bear”. However, even after her precious bundle of joy runs across the fence into the neighbor's woods, this unconcerned mama is more interested with chewing her cud than keeping watch over her helpless newborn.

The calf continued to run over the next hill and through the fence.

After waiting around until almost dark to see if mama assumes her responsibility, The Farmer finally decided to intervene. He crossed the fence and began “mawing” like a baby calf (he’s quite good at “maw” calls). Finally, mama’s interest awakened enough for her to investigate. She came to the “rescue” about the time The Farmer coaxed the calf close enough to the fence that he poked his head through. Mama and baby were reunited and walked away without so much as a “howdy-do” or a “thank you” to The Farmer.

As I watched this unfold, I thought about human moms in general (I always compare cow mamas to human mamas, you wouldn’t believe how much we are alike) :) This was a sad comparison, though. I thought about how some mamas have children and then seem too eager to abandon them. Having a baby is easy (I should know), but the endeavor of the day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, year-to-year labor of raising children is the most important part of parenting.

When I saw the cow look up from her grazing and ignore the situation until the calf crossed the fence I grumbled, “It’s too late to care, now”.  Nonetheless, that’s how some parents are. They allow their children to run, to make their own decisions, to watch out for themselves, while they are busy with work, or play, or whatever takes them away from their job of being the adult authority figure, and only show interest when they’re child crosses the line--gets into trouble, leaves home, or causes embarrassment to the parent.

If God has allowed you to be a parent, then be a parent. Be vigilant, watchful, alert when it comes to your children. Guard them against danger, difficulties, and error. Don’t ignore them until they cross over the fence and someone else has to chase them back. If you have had a child placed into your custody, then be a PARENT.

Protect them from being harmed or damaged (physically and emotionally)

Arm them with the tools they need to succeed

Require them to be responsible

Earn their respect by being a good role model

Notice them; they need your time and attention on a daily basis

Transfer them to their own life (allow them to move away) when you have finished raising them, by preparing them along the way

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fall Has Arrived

The days are slowly becoming shorter and the nights are dipping down into the 50’s. The official first day of autumn is just around the corner, but fall has arrived early on the farm. Our fall-calving season is in full swing, and we have six brand new baby boys kicking up their heels in the field. (Which is very exciting because steers are worth more than heifers).

We had some beneficial rains in June and cooler than normal temps in July, which left our fields green and fertile. Unfortunately, the weather turned dry and hot, and now our fields are beginning to suffer the consequences. We got less than 1” of rain the last two months.

Our cattle are on a rotational grazing cycle, which means we move them every three or four days into a fresh paddock of grass. Because of the dry weather, we have to move them more often to keep the grasses as healthy as possible. Believe it or not, the cows always tell us when they need to move on. When The Farmer jumps on the four-wheeler, if they are ready to move, they begin bawling, “Mooooove! Mooooove!”  So he lets them into a new paddock, because happy cows make happy calves. :)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Gratitude List

Life on the farm isn’t always a bed of roses, what life is? But this morning was just another reminder of how fortunate I am to be a farmer’s wife.

When I walked outside this morning, the temperature was in the high 60’s, that’s very unusual for this month, which normally is in the high 70’s or low 80’s in the morning. A lot of times the air is dry and humid, but not this morning.

Baxter and I took our walk up and down the driveway, around the fields, lingering to take in the sights: geese on the pond, red-headed woodpeckers snatching the cat’s food, baby pears hanging on the trees, and the wonderful smell of fresh-cut grass, which daughter #4 cut last night. Even the weeds around the flowers were a pleasure to pull out this morning. (wow! Starting to sound a little too mushy :)

At any rate, the peacefulness of the morning gave me another occasion to be thankful for my "haves" instead of dwelling on the "have-nots".

Do you ever do that? Take an inventory of the blessings you have received this side of Heaven, whether big or small.

Here's a small part of my list:

  1. knowing Christ as my Kinsmen Redeemer

  2. having family, both close and faraway, that know me and still love me (some of them even like me)

  3. the freedoms that we still have here in America



Thursday, July 25, 2013

Onward And Downward

I have just finished one of my favorite breakfasts—oatmeal and blueberries—and was feeling so good about my diet that I had to sing it's praises once again. I started The Fast Metabolism Diet in May and have been steadily, although slowly, losing weight. (Before, I was slowly and steadily gaining weight)

I have been overweight and on an upward climb for more than 20 years. Through that time, I have been on several diets, taken several "supplements", and tried several habit altering techniques. I have counted points, taken shots, and have been hypnotized. I've done without specific food groups, and overloaded on others. Through the years, I have bought a boatload of exercise machines and tapes (both on VHS and CD).  And although I had experienced some weight loss doing most of these things, I was never able, or willing, to maintain, and soon the weight that I had lost would always come back.

For me, The Fast Metabolism Diet has been different. The first week that I was on the diet, I followed the plan religiously, although I did find out later that some of the things I had eaten weren't the right products. For example, the oatmeal is supposed to be steel oats, I used old fashioned oats (still do). Nitrate free lunch meat is allowed, but mine wasn't always nitrate free. And watermelon is only allowed on phase 1, I had been eating it on all 3 phases.

However, following the diet plan (mostly), I lost 5 lbs. my first week, and then began losing 1 lb. or so every week thereafter. I was a little disappointed, but determined to follow through, realizing that I was in fact losing weight, but just as exciting, I was not gaining any weight. For the last couple of weeks (wk 10-11), I have been on and off the diet, however, when I weighed myself yesterday, I had lost another pound. (yay!)

Haylie Pomroy, the author of The Fast Metabolism Diet, promised me that this diet would heal my metabolism and speed up the burn. And fortunately I believed her. I think it has taken at least 6 weeks for my metabolism to kick into gear and start working with me instead of against me. Therefore, even though I haven't been following the diet plan meticulously, the momentum of weight loss has taken a turn and I continue to lose weight without too much effort.

With summer time events and crazy schedules I've been a little lackadaisical concerning the diet, however, by making wiser eating choices and getting more exercise, I have been able to keep from gaining anything back. And come August 5, I have made plans to restart The Fast Metabolism Diet for 28 days and hopefully re-rev up my metabolism!

Here are my latest statistics:

DateWeightWeekly LossTotal lbs. to Date
Starting Wt.230
Week 1225-55
Week 2224-16
Week 3223-17
Week 4223-07
Week 5222-18
Week 6220-210 (Yay!)
Week 7219-111
Week 8-9219-011
Week 10218-112
Week 11217-113

I have also lost 11 inches overall!

Should we talk about exercise next? Hmm…maybe…

Monday, July 22, 2013

More Important Than A Royal Birth

The top story of the day is "Kate Middleton In Hospital Having Royal Baby". Even as I write this, the mob of reporters (some who have flown in from all over the world) are stationed in front of the hospital awaiting the arrival of the third heir in line for the British throne. People are placing bets on the gender, the name, time of arrival, and the length and weight of the little Prince or Princess of Cambridge.

As a mother of nine, I realize as much as anyone does the importance of the birth of a new baby. I can see how the next heir to the British throne would be important to the Brits, but we broke ties over 200 years ago, so maybe our top stories for today should start with one of these headlines:

  • Detroit Declares Bankruptcy after 60 Years of Financial Irresponsibility (18 billion dollars in the red)

  • Top Government Leaders Undermine Court Ruling by Injecting Racism into the Zimmerman/Martin Verdict

  • Gas Prices Soar Nationwide- Up $.12 in One Week

  • Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Employer Mandate Delayed-Employees Will Still Be Held Captive

  • Unfair and Unjust Furloughs for Our Military Heroes

  • Congress Needs to Stop Wasteful Spending (and live on a budget like the rest of us have to)

  • The Tea Party Demands Answers Involving the IRS Scandal

  • All Americans Should Demand Answers to the NSA Scandal

  • Family Members of the Murdered Victims in Benghazi Want Washington Held Responsible

  • Underemployment/Unemployment—Highest it's Been Since 2003

Okay, in case you are really curious (and living under a rock), Here is the announcement:

The Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son

Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.

Friday, July 12, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow

For many years The Farmer and I  put in a fairly nice sized garden. We planted about 12 tomato plants, 2 rows of green beans, some peppers, onions, watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers and whatever other plants my Dad would give me from his greenhouse

Personal plug:

My parents own A & N Greenhouse, out on Hwy 47 towards Potosi. (you know where that is if you live locally) It's too late this year, but that's the place to go when you want really good garden plants and flower baskets.

Ok, back to my story. As I was saying, we used to put in a nice sized garden. A couple of years ago, Daughter #1 enlightened me to the efficiency and ease of square foot gardening.  I really loved the idea. The Farmer made boxes for the plants, we put down a weed cloth to deter weed growth,  we sectioned off the boxes into 1 ft. squares, and then we planted the vegetables according to a chart that I had drawn up. I was really excited to do this, because square foot gardening was supposed to be easier (less weeding), until I saw The Farmer re-seeding the yard around the boxes. When he was finished, the garden was full of grass seed. It didn't take me long to lose interest in this gardening style (there were still weeds!)

So the gardening set idle for a season or two, until we determined that we were going to have fresh garden tomatoes on our BLTs. We both like the idea of having a garden, but he doesn't have time to weed the garden and I don't want to. :) So, necessity being the mother of invention, we came up with what I thought would be a simple plan--patio gardening.

Here's what we did:
Early one morning, The Farmer went out to get our special mix of highly organic soil.

This is the field where the cows winter.

  A visitor came as he was mixing the fertilized soil with peat moss

At one time these tubs contained protein supplement for the cows. I guess Otis (the bull) remembered.

 The Farmer mixes the soil and peat moss, and loads the tubs into the bucket of the tractor.

He lifts the tubs onto the deck using the bucket of the tractor.

You can see the remnants  of the square foot garden in the background.

We only did three tubs.

I planted 1 tomato plant and 2 pepper plants in each tub.

I later discovered that I should have planted the pepper plants in a tub by themselves.

Live and learn!

Have you planted a garden this year? Let me know how your garden is growing.

This post may contain affiliate links. See disclosure >>here

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

From The Pasture To The Picnic

It takes over a year to get the perfect steak on our picnic table.

The calves are born in the spring. They stay with mama until weaning time, which is sometime in November. At this point, we put them in a pasture by themselves where they stay until they are well over a year old. Soon afterwards, their diet is supplemented with locally grown hormone-free/antibiotic-free corn. This is what gives beef it’s highly prized marbling texture and increases the meats flavor and tenderness.

At the beginning of the next summer, when we see the calves approaching their optimal weight, we begin contacting our customers and set an appointment up with our butcher at Swiss Meat. A quaint locally owned family business (but that’s a story for another day).

After two or three weeks processing time, The Farmer and I pick up the meat and bring it back to the farm so our local customers can pick up their meat from the farm where it was raised.

The steak that took 16 minutes on a hot grill took 16 months to prepare.

      So we savor every bite!

This is what we had for supper last night. I also made Homemade Peach Cobbler for dessert.

I added the recipe >>Here<< or go to the "Recipe" tab on the right of this page.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Out Of Control, But Not Uncontrollable

Week 10

I've been on sort of a hiatus from my diet for the last two weeks. Some days I would start off the day by following the diet, but then I would get sidetracked throughout the day or throughout the week.

I could blame this lull on my circumstances; The Farmer took some days off and messed me up, the kids demanded that I make dessert and messed me up, I couldn't get to the store to buy everything I needed and it messed me up, it was Monday and it messed me up. But whatever the excuse (or lack of excuse) I messed up. I put my guard down, allowed my circumstances to dictate my life, and was just plain lazy about doing what I knew I should have been doing.

Here's the difference:

Before I went on The Fast Metabolism Diet (by Haylie Pomroy), I would have given up and called it quits on this diet.  I would have gone back into my comfort zone of eating what I wanted, and I  would have gained more weight.

But this time I didn't gain any weight. I maintained the weight that I had already lost, I didn't have the uncontrollable desire for unhealthy food and sugar, and I was able to make healthy choices even though I wasn't following the diet. This way of eating has done what it has promised, it seems to have reset my metabolism button back to start, allowing me to eat a little out of control for a short time without being uncontrollable in my eating habits, which quickly leads to weight gain.

So, this week being a brand new week, I get to push the restart button, again, and I have a new resolve because I have new results! Take a look...

DateWeightWeekly LostTotal lbs. to date
Starting wt.230
Week 1225-55
Week 2224-16
Week 3223-17
Week 422307
Week 5222-18
Week 6220-210
Week 7219-111
Week 8-9219011

Best news is I have lost 7 inches around my waist! Very excited!!!

Looking for some great blogs to read this week?

Below is a blog hop that I have joined. Take a look at the blogs involved. Leave a comment, like their Facebook page (it really shows you care) :)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Family Reunion

This past week we had our annual family reunion on my Dad’s side. Besides a funeral or wedding, this is usually the only time families living far apart get together. I have a great family (for the most part :)), and I love seeing uncles, aunts, and cousins that I haven’t seen since last year, or sometimes haven’t seen for longer than that. We enjoy catching up on what everybody has been doing and meeting new additions to the family-sometimes through birth, sometimes through marriage.

 My Dad and Mom have officially hosted all the family reunions since 1995. There were many other impromptu reunions that just happened over the years, because people decided to come together at their house. Thanks Mom and Dad!

One of the first family reunions that we went to when The Farmer and I were first married, I volunteered to bring a dessert. The only cookbook I had at that time (or maybe one I had borrowed from Mom) was one that my Grandma Lorene’s church put together for a fundraiser, which is probably one of the best I’ve ever had.

Searching through the pages, I found the recipe for Banana Split Cake. Sounds great, right? I recognized all the ingredients, except one. The recipe called for one stick oleo. I know what you’re thinking, but at the time I was a young bride and didn’t have much experience in the kitchen, unless you count a frozen pizza or a TV dinner.

So I went to my local IGA searching for oleo. Much to my relief I found the oleo next to the sticks of butter (imagine that!). Taking my one pound of oleo home, I followed the recipe to the letter, measuring the ingredients meticulously, allowing the oleo to come to room temperature before mixing it with the other ingredients.

The last thing I had to put on top of the cake was the whipped topping. Remembering the way my Mother spread meringue or icing by making little peaks, I spread the whipped topping onto the cake. It turned out beautifully! Off to the reunion we went. Carefully packing away the little dessert that I was sure would WOW everyone! My first dessert, a Banana Split Cake—how impressive!

When dessert time came, I got out my beautiful Banana Split Cake, and just as I had anticipated, the ooos and wows started coming in. I cut a piece for The Farmer (before he was THE farmer), because I figured since it was my first dessert, he deserved to be the first to eat it. Then I cut pieces for my uncles and others.

But then a hush settled among the ooos and wows, and someone asked (I remember who it was, but they shall remain nameless here), “Did you put butter in this cake?”

“No”, I answered and started naming off the ingredients.

“There’s a lot of oleo in this”, chimed in others.

I remembered I only put in one stick, just like the recipe called for. And began to think that maybe there had been something wrong with the recipe. Someone must have typed it wrong.

“How much oleo did you put in?” asked one proficient cook.

“It called for 1 stick”, I answered defensively.

“It tastes more like 1 pound!” stated the cook.

At that time—the time when my whole family was turning against me, the family that I had been born into, that I had spent all my life with, extended family that I had shared my summers with, the people that I would have given my life for—I turned to look at The Farmer who was not only eating my dessert, but he was ENJOYING my dessert. It was at that moment that I knew I would always love him and support him. ;)

Although the memory of that first family reunion may have been idealized just a bit, the unadulterated truth is I did make a Banana Split Cake that called for 1 stick of oleo, but I ended up using 1 pound of oleo.

To redeem my reputation, I made the same Banana Split Cake at the next reunion; it was the special dessert that I had hoped for. I began making this dessert for every reunion we have, and every year it’s turned out perfectly, but every year I’ve been reminded of that first time when it tasted like butter. It’s just something I’m always going to be known for, but that’s okay.

Something else I’m known for is being late (unfortunately), so my Mother and I had decided long ago that I would never bring a salad or side (something that needs to be there when the meal is first served). But I would bring a dessert, then it wouldn’t matter how late I was. I began bringing most of the desserts for the family reunion, and now that my girls are women with their own husbands and households, they have been helping, too. This year we ended up taking 10 desserts.

Here are the desserts I took.

apple pie, cherry pie, cheese cake, coconut cream pie, lemon meringue pie

and of course a Banana Split Cake.

For several years, I have been making a double sized Banana Split Cake;

not as pretty, but I believe I have been completely exonerated. :)

I have included some of the recipes under the Recipe tab at the top of the page.