Thursday, April 16, 2015

no willpower




God bless my husband. Really. I have no willpower when it comes to animals and furry things.

Yesterday I ran to a local chicken farm to pick out TWO cochins. Lily and I have wanted feathered-footed chickens for the last two years. They're not the greatest layers so they're more for fun. So it was somewhat of a luxury purchase.

So we walked into the chicken house at the farm, and I knew I was in trouble. I don't even remember how many different types of chickens there were, but they were everywhere.

To keep things short and tidy, I left with three cochins (the feather-footed chickens), three Rhode Island Reds, and three Black Australorps. But, really, I only went to get two cochins.

And I almost came home with a couple of turkeys as well. The ONLY thing that held me back from that was knowing that if I did buy turkeys, my poor husband would have yet another building project on his plate. Oh, but my mind was turning, trying to figure out how I could house a couple of turkeys, it really was.

So our poultry count is now twenty-four hens, one rooster, seven older chicks, nine baby chicks, and twenty-five meat chickens that we'll be receiving at the end of the month.

We've got a lot of chicken here, people!

Brad came home from work last night and had a Starbucks Americano with steamed soy, just for me. It's my favorite Starbucks drink. I so appreciated that little act of love, and I even more appreciated when he didn't get upset when I told him how many chickens I came home with. Actually, he wasn't even surprised. He's knows me so well.

I have a great hubby. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

busy things





Laundry. Oh my, where does all of this dirty laundry come from? Brad carried up loads of clean laundry this morning which is now sprawled out on our couch. I guess it will all have to be put away today if we would like a place to sit. It's been accumulating in the laundry room mostly because the kids' clothing drawers need cleaned out. We're in that in-between clothing season where some days we need warmer clothes while on other days, shorts and tees are just fine. Plus, both of my kids grew by leaps and bounds this winter so many of the clothes stuffed into their drawers don't even fit them anymore. I guess we'll be cleaning out drawers and reorganizing, making a shopping list of what they'll need for summer (and crossing my fingers that we'll be able to find some of those things at thrift stores), and then boxing the rest of the stuff up to pass on to my sisters for their kids.

The weather has been just absolutely gorgeous spring weather. We've definitely been spending most of our free time outside. Lily and I did her grammar lessons out in the alpaca yard the other day. Ian took his seat on the edge of one of the raised beds. And yesterday I decided that I much rather shovel alpaca manure than clean my house. Is that weird? First of all, alpaca manure doesn't really have a strong odor. Secondly, I LOVE fresh air and sunshine and being out with my animals. Third, any excuse to get outside after a long winter is game with me!

I'm incubating eggs. I bought eight pullets several weeks back. We lost one of those for unknown reasons (it happens sometimes) so we're left with seven. Our current flock is getting older so, in an effort to keep a young flock, I stuck 26 eggs in the incubator last Thursday night. I'm anxiously waiting until Thursday or Friday so I can candle the eggs and see which ones are viable. I can tell that some are growing chicks because they feel much heavier than the other eggs, but I won't know for sure until I candle them.

I made homemade laundry soap over the weekend. Would you believe that I've wanted to do this for the last two years (at least), and it took me this long to actually do it? I used Staci's recipe which was extremely easy. I've been using it all week, and I'm very happy with it. Our clothes definitely don't have that extreme laundry smell (which is actually a nice smell in my opinion.) But they do smell and feel clean. And the fact that they don't have the strong laundry scent is probably a good thing because that means that my soap is not full of perfumes and other harsh agents. I did use my Citrus Bliss doTerra essential oil, but I'm not really sure that that was necessary.

My dad got a new tractor. I had fun on it the other evening after he showed me how to operate it. I have never driven a vehicle with a clutch, so driving the tractor (which does have a clutch) made me a bit nervous mostly because I didn't want to damage it. But once I got it down, I had a good time driving around the fields, practicing. I guess the next thing I'll learn is how to actually use the bucket other than just putting it up and down. Haha.

We have some new plans for our homestead this spring and summer. I'll share them in a separate post sometime very soon. I always love reading what other people are doing on their homesteads/farms so if you've written a post regarding that, please share it in the comments so I can read what you're up to! It's always inspiring and encouraging to read about other homesteader's goals/plans/endeavors.

We're off to do our school work and then, hopefully, to pick up some cochins. Squeal! I've wanted feather-footed chicks for a while, and I finally just found a local farm that sells them.

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Back to my roots (in which I wrestle with God and find my way home)...

 Ian and I the morning of his eleventh birthday (September 2014)
 Lily and I at the Creation Museum (August 2014)


God and I had been doing a bit of wrestling over the past year. No one around me would have noticed. In fact the only ones who knew were the ones to which I disclosed the details. The ironic thing was that I didn't even know that I was fighting God. Well, not completely. I did know that I was living with a lack of deep peace. I felt that something wasn't quite right. I just didn't feel content.

So by now you might be curious as to what I was fighting God about. I guess if I was reading this post on your blog, I would like to know.

Well, did you ever want something really desperately? Like, you prayed and prayed and trusted and trusted that it would be given to you because you felt deeply that it was within God's will for your life?

I prayed like that over eleven years ago, after giving birth to my first baby. Oh, how I longed to be at home with him. I desperately desired to quit my nursing job and raise my baby. Then almost three years later, I gave birth to another baby, and that desire only grew. I felt like I was missing out on so many special moments and memories. And the hours when I was at home were short and stressful and filled with busyness just in preparation to do it all again the next day.

And I knew deep in my heart that God wanted me home with our children. He wanted me home making our home a sanctuary, a place of refreshment and peace. And I also knew that God granted the desires of His children's hearts if they were in-line with His plan.

But my husband wasn't on board.

We had just built a house and had a mortgage. We had two car payments. We had school loans we were still working hard to pay off. And we had the cost of living and raising kids. We had quite a few financial obligations.

I wanted to nag my husband. I wanted to ask him over and over to reconsider. I wanted him to agree that I should be at home.

Yeah, but none of the nagging, bugging, questioning, pressuring, etc., worked. In fact the only thing it did at all was cause tension.

So I stopped. And God spoke to my heart. I knew He had that for me. I knew that He called me to be at home.

God spoke to my heart to be patient and let Him work. So I stopped nagging and started praying. A lot.

And though Brad didn't say anything, God was working on his heart.

When Lily was a month short of one, I was working two part-time nursing jobs and feeling quite torn and miserable. I felt like I couldn't give my best to my role as wife and mother or as a nurse. I did my best and worked my hardest doing both, but it was such a conflicting time in my life. Maybe I'm an all-or-none kind of girl, or maybe this is just what moms who desire to be at home struggle with in their minds.

One night after work, I was standing at the stove preparing dinner. I was tired. I had just started my second nursing job and was still in training. I was stressed about learning to work in a different environment, getting to know new colleagues, etc., etc.

Then something crazy happened.

I don't remember anything but the stove and the skillet with ground beef I was browning and the words. The words that just about knocked me off my feet.

"You should just quit your jobs."

Huh!!!!???

And so that was how God changed my husband's heart and granted me a desire of my heart. A desire to stay home and raise my children. To care for our home. To care for my husband and support him.

Yeah, I was pretty impressed with God.

So what does all of that have to do with my wrestling match with God in the year 2015?

Everything.

Over the years, I had lost my desire to fulfill my calling. I was bored with the constant chores and tasks that come along with being a stay-at-home mom and wife. The endless, boring, over-and-over dishes and laundry. And homeschooling. I loved it, but it seemed to take up way more time than I liked. And kids home for 24 hours a day? Well, the house was never clean because we were here all of the time. I was always picking up messes and breaking up arguments between the kids.

I was worried, like a lot, about whether or not I was doing enough with the kids in our schooling. (I know this is something almost every homeschooling mom deals with, but the worry was real.) Thankfully, I had some pretty awesome homeschooling friends who reigned my worried mind back in from its fear-filled escapades.

And then there were my personal hobbies and desires. All good things. My business. My ministry opportunities. My relationships.

But I just wasn't happy that I didn't have the time to commit to these things because I was too busy with homeschooling and doing other motherly things. (Yeah, this  is where it gets ugly and embarrassing.)

I was starting to look at my calling (something that I once felt great joy and accomplishment in) as a burden. It was holding me back from pursuing my business. There was a ministry opportunity that was presented to me, but I didn't have the time to do it, because I homeschooled my kids. (And it was a position that I have dreamed about doing for many years.)

Oh, I was so miserable and discontent.

And I was feeling annoyed, irritated, rushed, and desperate.

Then we started a study at our ladies' Bible study about our position in Christ. And I was reading through Ephesians which talks a lot about our benefits as His children.

And then God began to show me things.

He revealed to me how I had been butting heads with His will for my life.

I wanted one thing, but He had something else.

There were many good things I was pursuing, but I was making them idols in my life. Instead of putting them in their correct position in my mental list of priorities, I had put them pretty high up on the list, higher than they should have been.

He showed me that I was looking to the world to find my identity. I was trying to do this or be that and make a name for myself because it's nice to feel important.

But then there's that verse in the Bible that says that the last shall be first and the first shall be last. (Matthew 20:16)

The world has it all topsy-turvy. Because it's ingrained in our minds to be the best, be known, succeed, make a name, sacrifice others for our own benefit and advancement.

It was my "AHA!" moment. That's why I had been so unsettled and discontent. I had been basing my worth on worldly measurements, and I felt that I was falling short. And I was envious of others who were somehow succeeding. And I was upset that I didn't have the time others had to advance themselves or their business.

(See why I said that this was all very ugly and embarrassing? But it's the raw truth.)

Since that great revelation (cue the angel voices!), God's been wooing my heart back to His. He's been infusing me with a sweet peace and contentment as I invest time in His Word and refocus my mind and life on my calling.

I'm feeling happy and light and excited about what I'm doing here at home and with my kids. He's giving me a joy again regarding my position as a wife, mother, and woman of God. He's reopening my eyes to how all of these little jobs I do around here bless my family and delight Him.

It's wonderful. I've missed feeling this way.

So, I'm still maintaining my business. And I'm still serving in the various ministry positions He's put me in. But they've been put in their rightful position and have been brought into submission. They don't rule my life anymore. And, honestly, He's really shown me that my main ministry right now is to my family, my children. But that's a whole other blog post, my friend.

So my many words serve a purpose. If you're wrestling right now, stop. Run back to Him. Embrace Him and ask Him to help you to come back to your first love (Him.) Ask Him for peace and contentment with where He's placed you at this time. Friend, it's the best place to be. It's the place of peace and joy and contentment. And those things are so much better than fame and success and earthly treasures.