Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

I want to wish you all a very happy 2012. I pray this will be a year of untold favor. That we will see our Glorious Lord move in ways we haven't seen. For health, strength. For wisdom in making the right decisions. To live in wild abandon for the glory of our King.

Thank you so much for hanging out with us here on this little blog. We hope you will join us for 2012 as we go through a year of transition. That's what I am calling it anyway! Between remodeling a new home, expecting a baby in May, and the end of a lifelong farming relationship (for my husband), change is abounding and coming our way whether we like it or not! Change is good. It causes us to step out in faith, to truly wait upon the Lord. We are refined, and the dross is stripped away. More of our Jesus shines through. Not that it isn't painful or at times feels like we are all alone out on a limb. But keep pushing through. There is freedom and unspeakable joy waiting on the other side.

Here is a little sneak peek of our little love coming sometime in May.....
This is our little Anne Noelle. We had already decided on a girl and boy name before going for the ultrasound, so either way, I felt good about naming the baby. Anne is my middle name and also happens to be the name of one of my most favorite literary characters, Anne of Green Gables. Anne means "one of grace". Noelle is my youngest sister's middle name. I always loved that name and how feminine the spelling made the name look. This ultrasound was special because my sister was along, so she got to see a first glimpse of her namesake. Our first daughter has a combo of my name and my sister Alyssa's name. And our third daughter has part of Alyssa's middle name in her middle name, Elizabeth. My sister's middle is Beth. I just wanted to explain that in case anyone thought my other sister was getting the shaft. :)
Our girls were not very thrilled at having another girl. They thought for sure we would have another boy. They really wanted a brother for Landon. They were only upset for the first couple hours after telling them. Now they can't wait for Anne to get here to hold her, rock her, and yes, change her diaper!
I will post more about our fantastic time with my sister who spent Christmas with us this year. I just wanted to send you our New Year's greeting and a little sneak peek of baby Anne.
Happy New Year!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Project Restoration

So we have taken on a new challenge. Not that farming in the desert if enough of a challenge! My in-laws have sold their farm. They will farm it for one more year, but by the spring of 2013, they must be out and so must we since our house in on their farm.  In anticipation of this, we have recently begun the purchase of some additional acreage that also includes a house and shop. The house is smaller then what we are currently living in. And will require some will see what I mean........

This is my favorite part of the house. It has a fireplace! I can't wait for next winter when we can sit by the fire. I love the smell of a fireplace!

This is the living room. This is the room you enter when you come in the front door. The white on the carpet is the popcorn ceiling my husband is scraping off.

Front window

Looking at the dining room. Patio doors go to the outside where there is a carport.

Looking into the kitchen from the living room. Nate has already started taking out the overhead cabinets.

My kitchen! The door goes into the mudroom/office/schoolroom/family room

This is our multipurpose room!

Laundry area in the multipurpose room

Bedroom #1


Master bedroom

Scary master bathroom. It really is as big as it looks. Which is not at all!

Hall closet. Door to the right is kids' bathroom. Which is lots bigger then the master.
So, this is our new project! We don't really have a time frame. Of course, we would love to have the house done before May, which is when our baby is due. We would love to "christen" the new home with a birth. However, we must be realistic!!!
I'll update with photos now and then as we plug away.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I am not even sure how I want to go about writing this post......this is something that has been simmering in the back of my mind for quite a while, and yesterday was the icing on the cake. I had to go to the lab yesterday to get some blood work done. I had all four kids in tow, and as we walked in, I saw an elderly gentleman and a middle aged man sitting next to each other in the waiting room. The kids and I sat down to wait our turn for me to talk to the receptionist. As the girls found their seats, I heard the elderly man say to the younger, in not quite a know, just loud enough for you to hear what he has to say, because he really wants you to hear it......"Three girls and one boy.....I feel sorry for her!"
As I sat there, I was thinking, what would he think if I unzipped my jacket and let him see that not only do I have four children, but actually have another one on the way? 
After I talked to the receptionist and then was called back to get stuck, my kids all coming along, the girl who was taking my blood asked me if the kids were all mine. I don't think she was much older then me. I said yes, they were all mine. Then she proceeded to say, "Wow, and you have another one on the way? You must really like children." I said yes, of course we loved children. Then she continued in saying that her husband doesn't want children, and neither does she, that they both really like to to travel.  I left there feeling sad.
I get comments a lot out in public. It's not often I get out by myself. So anytime I am at the grocery store, I get those looks, those remarks about how I have my hands full. But what is really sad is that these comments are not just random comments I get from people out in public. They are alive and well within the church as well.  I can't tell you how many comments I get from people who are God-fearing, God-loving people.
"Haven't you figured out how that happens yet?"
"Don't you know what cable television is for?"
"Aren't you busy enough?"
It feels like people have forgotten that God loves children. It says in Psalms, "Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." Now everyone has their own opinion of what makes a full quiver, but please don't project your personal number onto me. Jesus loved children. He reprimanded the disciples for keeping the children away from Him. He also goes on to say that only those who become like children can enter the kingdom of God.
I think it's very sad how slowly the world is becoming anti-children. Fifty, sixty years ago, large families were the norm. Now, they are rare and looked on sometimes as crazy or obscene.
Last Sunday a new older couple sat behind us in church. I had to use the bathroom, so my husband was talking to them and introduced me to them when I got back to my seat. The wife leaned over to me and said, "I just love the size of your family, and the fact that you are having another one." That was balm to my soul. Like an assurance from heaven, that God loves kids. Big families, small families, adopted families. He loves all children. They are eternal souls, and the only thing you can take with you to heaven.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


A Daybook for Wednesday, November 16, 2011......

Outside my window......the sun has just made its appearance over the eastern mountains, splashing light into the valley below.

I am thinking......of all I want to get done today after two days of running around, of how good it will be to go to bible study this morning and see ladies I haven't seen in a while.

I am thankful, strength, fallish winter sunrises and sunsets, cold evenings, warm house, snuggly little ones

From the learning room.....we are done with Class day. It was a great experience, but I am looking forward to having my Mondays back. The girls are enjoying the story of The Little Duke.

From the kitchen....I am going to be making one of my favorite cookies this week for a cookie exchange. Temptations, peanut butter cups in the center! Yummmmmyy!

I am reading.....the Anne of Green Gables series. All of them. There are nine or so books. I reread them every winter. And I am looking at lots of home magazines for inspiration for our next big project.....

I am hoping......for love, joy and peace, through this coming holiday season. I am hoping for unity in family and good fellowship as we all come together. I am hoping for wisdom and discernment in the coming year. I am hoping for a strong and healthy bundle of joy in May. :)

I am hearing.....the dryer in the background, my computer keys as I write this, my baby boy entertaining himself, sleepy girls awaking to the day.

Around the house.....dusting, dusting, dusting! And laundry! And baking, and floors need washing!

One of my favorite things.....drinking coffee in the stillness of the morning, before the sun if up, before the children are up, reading my one year bible plan.

A few plans for the rest of the week.....catching up on all the housework, schoolwork, and baking!

And here are more things I am thankful for this week.....

241. rustling of the leaves
242. delighted squeals of the girls on the playset
243. trimming back flowers for the winter
244. roar of the combine
245. lights on at night to welcome us home
246. little girls in ballet outfits
247. arms reaching for me
248. finding new recipes
249. our little part of earth preparing for winter
250. girls collecting leftover pinto beans from the field
251. bright red geraniums
252. peach encrusted boy
253. flannel sheets
254. cooking breakfast together
255. snow on the mountains
256. cold, windy days
257. cozy blankets
258. reading the "Anne" series again
259. shopping for Christmas gifts
260. Operation Christmas Child

Linking up over here....." target="_blank">" >

Thursday, November 10, 2011

One of those days....

It's been one of those days.....those days where I can hardly stand myself. One of those days where I am inwardly criticizing myself and yelling at myself as I impatiently deal with and sometimes snap at my children. My house can't seem to stay clean. I have no idea why! (Grin) It's not like I have lots of little ones running around, being creative in play and leaving their creativity behind. I have stacks of paper in different locations, my floors need swept, bathrooms cleaned, and kitchen floor washed. And as soon as I do one thing, there's five others to take it's place. Yeah, just one of those days I'd like to crawl into a hole and never come out.
The other night, as I was tucking in my oldest, she burst into tears. I asked her what was wrong, figuring she was just tired. She is my one child who seems  to need a little extra sleep, and we had been busy the last few days.
"Mom, I am just so selfish! And I can't seem to stop it!"
Oh my. I hid back a smile. Oh, to be able to stop it completely. To not give into flesh. To be Jesus all the time. And she's only seven. Here I am, thirty-two, and some days I feel like I act no better then a three year old.  I told her that being selfish is a lifelong battle against self. But that because we belong to Jesus, we have His strength to call upon. We have his help. It's only a prayer away. And as I spoke to her, soothing her tears, I felt as though I was speaking to myself as much as to her. He is only a prayer away. But how often do I give into the way I feel and react? Say hurtful things that I then have to go back and apologize for? I could get it right the first time. Slow down....take a deep breath.....ask what is the best way to handle this situation....and then proceed?
Help me Lord. Some days I feel as though I am doing more damage then good. Help me show Your love through me. Help me to be unselfish.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Twin Springs

One of my most favorite places to go when I was a child was Twin Springs. That is the name of the hunting cabin that my grandpa has been a member of for as long as I can remember. It is very primitive. There is no running water or electricity. Lights, oven, and fridge are all run on gas. And there is a fireplace and a woodstove. While I was in Pennsylvania visiting family and friends, I took my kids up there for their first visit. Needless to say, they loved it.....even though it was freezing cold! We had to use the woodstove every single day and night of the weekend. But it was beautiful!
Here is the cabin

Beautiful stone chimney

The "shanty". The highlight of the girls time. I wasn't sure how this would go over, but they never minded. And usually picked the most inconvenient times to go out there.

Oh fall, how I love you!

Auntie Lys with Landon, who wasn't cooperating!

Here we go!

The girls!

Gotta love the faces!

Happy boy!

Some more beautiful trees

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. Living in Arizona, if you blink, you might miss it! So going back to PA during the fall is one of my favorite things to do. And being up in the mountains has always brought me a measure of peace and quiet to my soul. Now on this trip, I must admit, I didn't feel as relaxed as I would normally. I had a cold that ended up lasting for over two weeks, and wasn't feeling the greatest, but it was still a good time. Not too mention the snoring, heavy breathing, toddler waking up in the middle of the night, and kids falling out of bed!
And here are some more gifts...between home and Pennsylvania....
221. road trips
222. fall in the East
223. leaves changing colors
224. coming home to him
225. the daily routine
226. harvest smells in the air
227. potato soup in the crockpot
228. going to bed early
229. uploading photos of our trip
230. leaves falling
231. kids playing in the leaves
232. seeing old friends
233. realizing distance cannot change friends of the "heart"
234. Turkey Hill iced tea
235. apple cider
236. Jimmy Mack's chocolate ice cream
237. home always feels the same
238. crackle of the fire
239. time with brother and sisters
240. my parents

Linking up over with Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience...." target="_blank">" >

Monday, October 31, 2011

Is it almost November?

Is today really the last day of October? Really? Time is just flying by....faster then sand in an hourglass. Only four weeks or so until Thanksgiving, and then it's Christmas! Sometimes I wish I could just slow it down. Savor life more. Breathe deep. Relax. Chill out. The practice of writing down gifts, grace-filled moments of daily life is a good practice. But I am finding I am not disciplined. I forget. I go days without writing anything down. Sometimes a week.
Help me to slow down Lord. To look for the moments. The small pleasures. Those tender, grace-filled moments, amid the chaos of life, the routine, the ordinary.

211. wispy cotton candy clouds
212. dreaming
213. making plans
214. scarecrows
215. dirty glass on door where kids press their faces
216. highlighting passages in a good book
217. cottonwood trees
218. dirt roads
219. halting first steps of a toddler
220. how the list grows

Linking up over here...." target="_blank">" >


It's that time of year. Probably a farmer's most favorite time of year. Harvest. Our harvest is almost over. By tomorrow all the corn will be combined. There are two circle of pinto beans, and some hay left to be baled, but the end is in sight. Here are a few pictures I got of the guys hard at work.

Ray filling the grain cart with corn

Beautiful view

Lone cornstalk

Clear, blue skies

My farmer bringing the grain to semi

"Yes, son, mommy is always going to take your picture!"

Smiley Lainy

Silly Charlotte

Grown up Larissa

Here it comes!

Filling the trailer

Grandpa running the combine

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It is quiet now. I have just tucked the girls into bed and have come out to the living room. There is a pile of laundry that needs to be folded, and I wish I could say that the house is all picked up and ready for another day tomorrow, but I would be misleading you. That hasn't been happening too often around here. I am still recovering from our big trip to Pennsylvania.
The above sign, my sister made for me while I was in. It is a quote that I borrowed from Ann Voskamp. She wrote the book, "One Thousand Gifts" and if you haven't read it, I would highly recommend it. All is Grace. Even the toys strewn about, the markers and crayons on the table, the pile of laundry staring you down, the dirty dishes in the sink, that sticky spot on the floor that no matter how many times you've wiped it, it doesn't go away, yet you don't have time or energy to mop the floor. Yes, even those are grace-filled moments. Are you looking for them? Do you take the time to notice? I struggle with it. All.the.time. Especially when I am feeling overwhelmed.
But it is quiet now. A good time to process thoughts. To write things down. To pray. To listen.  And here are more graces to add to my list.....

181. canning pears
182. puddles
183. rain dripping off the roof
184. naps on a rainy afternoon
185. all afternoon rain
186. parched desert turning green
187. renewal
188. rebirth
189. hope
190. change
191. crickets
192. dry breeze
193. brisk mornings
194. butterflies
195. little girl trying to catch butterflies
196. unexpected, yet exciting news
197. children playing at the kitchen table
198. little girls listening to Little Women on tape
199. peaceful Saturday morning
200. ironing jeans for my hardworking farmer
201. fall evenings
202. baby boy who stands and rubs his belly
203. change of seasons
204. boy splashing in dog's water dish
205. anticipating harvest
206. lazy day
207. frisky kitten
208. setting sun casting shadows on the mountains
209. fresh, cut grass smell
210. hearing a pivot running in the stillness of the evening

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Life keeps movin' on

I feel like it has been hard to keep up with blogging lately. That and I don't know what to write about. I am too tired and pulled in too many different directions to take the time to sit down and write. We are doing a homeschool co-op on Mondays, and it's been kicking my tail. And the last week we've had something going on everyday. That is not normal. And I hope it doesn't become the new normal. But life goes in seasons, it ebbs and flows. But I did get some recent pictures of the kids because I realized it's been a while since I have taken any.

And the list of gifts continue....

161. air cooling enough we don't need the air conditioner
162. cup of coffee in the evening
163. friends visiting
164. snuggling with my 4 year old
165. fall
166. perfect song at the perfect moment
167. new life
168. moon rising over the mountains, above the clouds
169. stillness of twilight
170. tiger-striped kittens
171. purrs
172. brave men and women who protect us
173. picking pears
174. freedom
175. grace
176. girls playing with balloons
177. fall decorations
178. baby feet
179. Eskimo kisses
180. girls going with dad for the afternoon

We are preparing for a trip back to the good ol' state of Pennsylvania next week. My gracious mother in law is bravely going with me and the four kids. What's that you ask? Why, yes, of course we are driving the THIRTY-SIX hours back. Am I crazy? Well, no, but ask me when I get home!!!!