Friday, March 25, 2011

Here, It's Where I'm At


Part of my morning routine is to head out to the chicken coop early while the sun is just peering over the eastern horizon, let the chickens out into their run, and then check the nesting boxes for eggs.
The hens lay throughout the morning, but there are always at least three eggs to be found by the time I get out there,...still the cedar-lined nests.
This morning, I tuck them into my barn jacket's deep pockets and then head out to the garden to see what may be coming up.


The asparagus I had divide several weeks ago and transplanted is making its way up and through the earth!


Not to be outdone, the green onions are also emerging. Wonderfully, we're all fans of fresh green onions on a crisp garden salad on a hot summers day!


Satisfied with the goings ons there, I stroll back towards the house, my hands in my pockets cupped around the still warm eggs.

The redbud trees at the edge of the driveway demand my attention. I take a few pictures and once again wonder why they're called redbuds when the blooms are most definitely not red.


Grape Hyacinth are blooming. These tiny little flowers that are some of the first to bloom in Spring, have always enchanted me with their durability and the ease with which they spread. So charming!


And then I head back into the house to prepare breakfast, educate children, work on a blog post, ponder the progress we're to make in the spiritual place our family is in right now, pray without ceasing, and work on the history fair that I have had the privilege to head up these last three years. The history fair is tomorrow morning.

My husband emailed this quote to me this morning,...I love it!

"Let it never be forgotten that the material part of a Christian Church is by far the least important part of it. The fairest combinations of marble, stone, wood and painted glass, are worthless in God’s sight, unless there is truth in the pulpit and grace in the congregation. The dens and caves in which the early Christians used to meet, were probably far more beautiful in the eyes of Christ than the noblest cathedral that was ever reared by man. The temple in which the Lord Jesus delights most, is a broken and contrite heart, renewed by the Holy Spirit."
~ J.C. Ryle

Isn't that great?!
Blessings and have a great weekend, Julie

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Of Clothes Washers, Mental Illness, And Freedom

Recently, we made a trip to my hometown in southwest Oklahoma, Frederick.
My mom needed a new washer and I was horrified to find out she had been making trips to the laundry mat since hers wasn't working.
She's a bit wobbly and frail. She's fallen multiple times and the thought of her trying to carry a basket of clothes while negotiating a curb and getting into a building, convinced me that we needed to do something quickly.
Wonderfully, Tim is very supportive of my mom and after discussing when would be a good time for the whole family to make a trip down there, we made arrangements.


Tim's parents live on the way, so the girls stayed with them while Tim, myself, and the little guy headed on down to my mom's with the washer in back of my father-in-laws pickup.
A couple of trips to the local hardware store for a washer hose and a new valve were all that was needed and Tim was able to get the washer installed.
He did a fantastic job! The Lord has blessed me with a resourceful and frugal man.
Mom was so thankful for the new washer and insisted we take some money for it. She's that way.


With each visit, I wonder will it be the last one that I'm able to observe her being on her own.
It won't be long before her independence comes to an end.

It seems she's aged dramatically within the past five years.
She's had a hard life and seen more misery, sadness, confusion, and lonliness than most.
Her eccentricities are still very much profound but more subdued since getting back on the medication that helps to keep the delusions and paranoia managable.


Is it strange that I look forward to the day that she'll be free from the bounds that have held her down tightly for most of her adult life? An illness that has robbed her from enjoying the loved ones she's been so graciously blessed with.

Her life, most of it, has been filled with fear, uncertainty, and the deception of her own mind's doing. But gratefully as she is in the twilight of her years, the worst is behind. It's been a long road, an ugly and even violent road at times.
Looking back I could get angry and many would. There was never baking cookies, confidential talks concerning those of the female kind...those that are usually privileged between mother and daughter, nor many words of affirmation.
She was without the support of a husband both physically and monetarily. I was five when my mother and father divorced, he never looked back.
She worked much of the time to keep food on the table and rent paid.


Our childhoods weren't completely devoid of all nurture, there were moments of clarity...but sadly these seemed so seldom.

I can remember Sunday morning church at our small Nazarene fellowship. The preacher, Brother Biddle, worked up behind the pulpit, his voice raised with passion for the lost and his every word with an "S" in it whistling, droned on as I sleepily sought my mother's lap. She would allow me, a small girl of probably six or seven, to lay over on the pew with my head resting in her lap. I can still remember her hands gently playing with my long brunette hair. Twining it through her fingers as she sat listening earnestly to the preacher.


Yes, I long for the day that she is free.
Free to sit closely and safely by our King. Free to enjoy Heaven's haven. Free to experience the gentle touch of Her Saviour upon her head as He lovingly speaks words of acceptance to her.
Until then, I will do my best within the Lord's will to make the rest of her journey here as gentle and sweet as I possibly can.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Progress


It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Today, I cleaned and organized all day.
And it felt good!
Doesn't it make a difference when the clutter is gone and you can actually remember enjoying your home?
Why do I let it get to a point of total chaos?!

Now, I've got to be honest...the house is still somewhat in a state of disarray, but a vast improvement has been made.

Progress seems to be what I'm all about right now, moving forward.
Funny, I seem to say that very thing to the kids often, "Let's move forward, people!"

Is it just me or do you too sometimes feel like you're in limbo? I've felt that way for awhile now, like I'm in limbo.
I haven't understood it and being a homeschooling mama with a sense of limbo goin' on is a bit frustrating and discouraging. So would limbo and stagnant be synonymous? Stagnant can be such a negative word with negative implications.
Hmmm, I'll think on that one.

Anyway, limbo or stagnant, I'm leavin' them behind and movin' forward!
I'm cleanin' house!
Working on thankfulnes, Julie

Friday, March 4, 2011

Take A Hike! Part 2

March2011 137

Back to the hike, remember, we're in the ravine.
The kids are playing in the little stream that is fed by a spring further up toward the house.
The stream runs over a sandstone bottom and eventually waterfalls down into the lake.

March2011 144

I "play" too. But my play is a little different as I take a stick and turn over small rocks looking for life underneath. I'm still looking forward to that day when I see a salamander...none this day, but the water striders and crawfish that scurry here and there are appreciated.
The leaves, some floating atop the gentle water gliding, draw my attention.
This sycamore leaf, submerged, has been preserved by the cold temperatures of the water.
Its color, amongst dulled browns is welcome.

March2011 148

There are many varieties of trees in the ravine, the forest above, and around the lake that borders the western most part of our farm.
Many types of oaks, elms, and flowering trees like the red buds and hawthorns thrive in this wood. Sycamores that tower, willows and persimmons are all common here.
The lone green clothed are the red cedars.
The ferns are plentiful here on the damp rock. I've transplanted some to our yard.

March2011 156

So while standing here taking pictures, the boy decided to walk along the top of the wall of the ravine. No surprise there, huh?

"Hey! You! Get back away from the edge of that thar wall!"

The gray hairs abound.

On another subject, tomorrow we will be heading to our state's spelling bee. My oldest, who inherited her dad's spelling genes will be competing. We're excited...and nervous. I'll let you know how it goes. Did I say I was nervous...I am.

I hope you have a wonderfully productive and blessed weekend! Julie

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Take A Hike! Part 1

Yesterday, after lunch, the kids and I took a hike down to the lake.
It had been awhile since we had all been down there together...and it's always an adventure!

March2011 080

On the way, we stopped at the edge of a pond that borders our property and picked up freshwater shells.
I think these beautiful creations so fascinating and take great satisfaction in knowing that the children enjoy these wonderful finds also!

Gimpy-leg Dog is a Ham

Before we get to the woods and ravine that lead down to the lake, there is a low area with an outcropping of rock. This is such an interesting place as we often observe a wide variety of animal tracks in the dirt here.
We enter the woods and the kids always make me nervous by walking right up to the edge of the steepest part of the ravine! I have the girls pose beside it and then we walk further along until we get to the place that we can climb down in it.
The ravine is one of my favorite places here at Forty Acre Farm. Many times I come here by myself, my only companions, the dogs.
When it is windy, and it often is here in Oklahoma, I climb down here and walk along the stream bed...quiet, all exept for the wind up in the tops of the trees. But here, sheltered down below there is always a hush, and a wonderful smell of fresh earth...and the faint gurgling of water as it finds its way to the lake...which is just beyond the ravine.

March2011 135