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Staying in the word

Daily bread. Living water. What does that even mean? Does it mean food? Does it mean praying every day and going about our lives? It meant these things to me for a long time. Keep in mind I’m not convicting anyone. I’m telling you the ways I’ve been convicted in my life. Ways that I’ve felt pulled to a change in how I approach the word. And many, many ways I’ve failed.

Do you want to know what happens when I step out of the word? What happens when I don’t fill up on my Jesus for the day….yes that is a real thing. I need to hear from Him every day, to refocus my heart and help make my decisions throughout my day. I haven’t read much in the last few days, which inspired this post.

Last week, I reacquainted with a cousin I hadn’t seen in years due to our parents hating strongly disliking each other. It was awesome. We were both so happy to see each other and hang out. I had been running back and forth to VBS in the evenings and hadn’t had a lot of time to clean up, so I’d left some things for the next morning, and the next morning, and the next morning. So I ran myself out of time because I had so much to do before we left the house to go to these VBS’s. Well on the last day I started to second guess my reacquaintance with her. She was talking about our grandma, and had mentioned that she had bought her kids several pieces of clothing. In my mind, I interpreted this as, she got me something and not you. This is my effect from not staying in the word.

I suffer from overthinking. Tremendous overthinking. The kind of overthinking that ruins my relationships and keeps me from going and visiting family because in my mind, I assume I already know what they are thinking and saying about me behind my back. (my family does this often, they like to say bad things about each other, I’m sure i’m not the only one)

The only time I can really deal with this is when I stop trying to predict what other people are doing or not doing.  The only way I can do this is when I have a close relationship with Jesus. Why? Because my relationship with him matters more to me than anything on this earth. He calls me to love my neighbor. My very difficult neighbor, my neighbor who sometimes criticizes me without my being present and I find out about it through the family grapevine. Despite this, He tells me that it is to my glory to overlook an offense, and that he will deal with any paybacks that need dealt out. Guess what, if I didn’t read that, and meditate over it day and night (when I needed to stop feeling negative towards someone who hurt me) I would probably stop talking to everyone in my family, and many people in my small town. But can you imagine if everyone did that to each other? No one would talk. No one would be there to comfort you.

God’s wisdom is far greater than we can ever imagine, and in staying in the word, I can live in that spirit. I can make choices that perhaps the only one who knows I struggle is my father in heaven, and that’s ok. because he promises me he sees it. He promises me that he will always be there for me and I will never be alone. He promises me he will be the one to seek justice. I’m on this earth to love my neighbor, not to take vengeance. I was created to do Gods good works, and that’s what I need to do while I’m here.

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faith

Choose this day whom you will serve.

What does that mean? Have you ever really thought about it? Can you break it down to define what it means to you, or what it means in your soul? I can tell you, when I heard this years ago, it was usually in one ear and out the other. I’ll do what I want today and tomorrow I’ll try a little harder. God knows my heart, I can cheat a little, He knows I try hard. Tomorrow I’ll read that passage. Tomorrow I wont lose patience and yell at my kids, I’m just tired today. Tomorrow, I’ll go see Grandma, I don’t feel like it today. But my problem was that tomorrow never came. It stayed tomorrow.

accurate alarm alarm clock analogue
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I’m the kind of person who always thinks I have more time that what I realistically have. I have the bad habit of putting things off. Especially overwhelming things, and things that make me feel bad or guilty. I don’t know why I do it, I just do.

But there comes a time that it starts to be an issue. Not only for the people around you, but for the Father above you. And he starts to weigh in on your heart. It starts out with little things, that small little voice that says, maybe I shouldn’t do it this way. Or that feeling you get…you know the one….when you know God is aware how you acted or what you just did. We can’t  live on this earth and pretend that our consequences don’t matter anymore. Our actions mean just as much to Him now as they always have.

I had a terrible sugar addiction. Like Bad. Like when I was stressed, or it was getting close to that time of the month, I had to have something sweet to calm myself. I would run to a gas station in the middle of the night, to go buy chocolate or cookies, or whatever they had. To make myself feel ok. And it wasn’t just every once in a while. No ma’am. It became every day. Every day I had to have something sweet. If I didn’t make it at home, then I had to buy it. I neeeeedded it.

It was my vice. And it kept me from growing in Christ…Now before you roll your eyes and click away, hear me out. What does Jesus tell us to do with our anxiety? Does he tell us to be gluttons when we are stressed out? Does he say it’s ok to eat yourself to death? (I was starting to have very frequent heart palpitations and thyroid issues. BOTH of which have resolved after changing my diet). NO. What he tells us is to turn to him in our burdens. Choosing my self and my vice was not serving Christ. This right here, deciding to put away the sugar and to trust only in Christ is what changed my path.

emotions feelings emotion feeling
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I was stuck. I didn’t feel like I was progressing in my path because I wasn’t truly trusting that He would take care of my problems. I was using my anxiety as an excuse to eat everything in sight. It stopped me from growing and it stopped me from seeing who’s path I was going down, and it wasn’t the straight and narrow. And it wasn’t just because I had an addiction. I think when you allow yourself a vice like that, where you refuse to turn to the bible and see what Gods word has in store for you, but instead try to cope on your own, without God, this is choosing the other guy. Especially when you are wallowing in self pity, crying in your closet with a pint of ice cream, trying to be quiet so your kids don’t hear you and want some ice cream too worry about you crying.

I don’t want to say that every once in a while when this happens that it’s wrong, because I know life happens. But for me, It got to the point it was wrong because I’d let myself take in all these negative thoughts, instead of hearing what God tells me. He tells me he does not give me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline. I didn’t love myself, I had no self-control over what I ate, and I was powerless to change. All that stopped the moment I chose him over myself. And not in a sappy, now I love God so my life is perfect kind of way, but in a way that I need him every day. I need to start my day with his words so I can keep him in my mind when I do get stressed. I need to meditate on him throughout the day so I know what he wants from me. I need to go to him in my troubles and cast my cares on him, not let them burden me. Don’t let the devil steal your joy. He is real and that is one of his many distributing goals.

When you give your troubles to Christ and put him in control of your life, something crazy happens. He takes that control and stress and anxiety and uses it for good. Good in your life and good for his kingdom. You just trust him and let him work for you. Step out in your faith. If that person offends you, don’t try to “get them back” He tells us that it is to our glory to overlook an offense. HE will make it right!! Maybe not right away, but in his own time and we have to trust that. This place is not our final destination. Think about it. Once we pass from this life, we will move on to the next. There’s no stopping it. And I want my next life to be by his side. I want to feel that eternal love and comfort he promises us. If you struggle, there are some great videos on youtube to help you grow closer to God. Greg Laurie, David Platt, Jeff Durbin, Matt Chandler all of these people and more helped lead me to Christ. Always be wary when you are listening, and compare their words with your bible. You don’t have to accept someone’s interpretation of the word, read it yourself and see how you feel with it. Break it down. Look at the hebrew translations of words or passages that confuse you. STUDY!! You will not be disappointed.

accomplishment action adventure challenge
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John 10:10   New International Version

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.


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Around the farm

Aren’t animals beautiful? I mean, don’t get me wrong, they can be a pain sometimes. We’ve got 3 goats who are escape artists and one dog that upsets the neighbor because he chases away the pretty wild deer, and don’t get me started on the chickens. There’s some days I don’t even know how they’ve survived this long! They can be so….what’s the right word…..NOT SMART about their survival. But all in all, I’m happy to say that we have these animals in our lives. They’ve brought so much joy and responsibility to us.

I think it helps you to care not only for yourself and your family, but to recognize that there are others who depend on you. Today it’s the animals who depend on you. For water, feed, shelter, and even love. But next week it could be the aunt who needs help getting to her doctor appointment, or the cousin who’s wife just passed away. I think caring for animals increase our awareness for helping others.

I’m planning on breeding the goats this January….hopefully. Or as close to January as I can get. In the fall I’m going to send off a blood test on my does to make sure they are disease free. And yes, that is because we are planning on drinking milk from our beautiful does. And making yogurt and cheese….and maybe even some yummy ice cream!!

There are so many things we can be thankful for with our animals. Our eggs, milk, playfulness, companionship, education, accountability, science….(I’m hoping to learn how to do fecal counts for our goats once we get a good microscope). I can see the happiness they bring my children. We can work through sickness and death, so they have a good understanding of why we need to take good care of our animals, and not just go through the motions. And how to be good to them in times when death is unavoidable. We’ve had 2 chickens pass, one was sick for 2 days and we took care of her until she died. I think it’s important for the kids to learn these things. That although death is unavoidable sometimes, there are ways we can help cope with it, and show kindness to those going through it.

I hope to increase the variety of animals on our little farm, and even delve in to processing our own meat animals. I think we’ve gotten pretty far away from our food. And I think the very act of butchering and processing our animals that we’ve taken care of, brings us closer to that sense of appreciation. That sense that we gave our animal a great life and it provided food for us. That we aren’t so distanced from our food that we think of our chicken as a headless white lump in plastic packing in the fridge section. I hope to be able to grow from these experiences with our animals, and I hope for my children to do the same.

Romans 14:1-23 ESV

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. …

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Mommin like a Boss

I woke up this morning, had my coffee and my bible out on the front porch with me, and my great big teddy bear Samson lounging at my side, when I heard the kids come outside. samson

Now I knew they hadn’t even come close to finishing their morning chores. And I knew in that moment, I had to make a choice. I could get mad and yell, or I could choose to take the moment, just then, and be kind. See what they wanted and why they hadn’t started on their chores. And I’m glad that this morning, I made the right choice. Benjibear had come out to tell me he loved me. In my past, I ashamedly admit that I would have reacted negatively to the kids not doing what I asked them to. Because I was tired, because I let other things lead my life, because my focus was not on God, but on everything around me. I would have taken that moment to yell at them, not to hear what they wanted to tell me, but to yell and say, “I told you three times already to get this done, get in there and do it.” And then missed the opportunity for my oldest to have a moment of connection with me.

We hear all the time how much our kids love us. So from the outside, this may seem trivial. It may seem like he was only coming to tell me he loved me because he was trying to get out of his chores. But do I truly believe that? No. I believe in his mind, he thought he needed to come tell me right then that he loved me, and that is what I want to foster in my children. Love. Confidence that he could come and tell me he love me without Mom getting mad at him. Joy that he could share his love with me.

Kids are so beautiful. They are so adaptable to their surroundings. They are true survivors. We’ve all had our moments of disappointment in ourselves as parents. We’ve all done those things that we are not proud of and wish we hadn’t done or said.  And I think it goes back to the bible, as in all things. See, what God wanted from his people to begin with, was an obedient loving people. Not people who disobeyed and tried to make up for it. He wanted our hearts. But he will take our repentance. And I think these little moments shape us. Those moments that we get mad and yell shape us. And those moments that we realize we shouldn’t have done what we did shape us, and those moments we choose to STOP and think before we react to our children shape us. For me, it’s been such a long journey. And I have a long way to go. But that’s ok. Because I know that he will finish this great work he started in me. He will give me a clean heart.

But it also made me realize, how much a Mom is like a manager. You can’t get mad and yell at your staff when they don’t listen or misunderstand. Well….I guess you can, and I’m sure some do, but they also loose alot of people that way. I don’t want to lose my kids. I want their hearts. And I have to manage them in a way that directs their paths while building them up instead of tearing them down. This morning, I really looked at being a mother like having a full time managing position. Because we are managing our families. Oftentimes as mothers, we are the ones guiding our children’s behavior. Father’s too. And we want to do so in a way that is encouraging. And I think we have to look past our initial negative knee-jerk reactions at our kids not listening, and instead take a step back. Try to imagine where they are coming from, just like you’d treat someone working for you, just like you’d treat a neighbor in Christ. You wouldn’t yell at a stranger for not doing what you asked them to do, why yell at your kids? And this is something that has truly helped me to stop yelling. Because I did alot of it. I’m not saying that temptation isn’t there, lurking at the corner. But I’m saying that instead, I’m choosing to encourage my children. Stay positive when they don’t listen, because they are not small adults, they are children. They don’t yet have the brain capacity to think like me. And that’s ok.

 

John 13:34-35 New International Version (NIV)

 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

 

faith, homeschool

Homeschooling or Public School

Part of blogging for me is getting to let out my feelings and concerns about myself and my family. It helps me think through my situations and hopefully figure out what I need to do in a more biblical way. It holds me accountable to put feelings out there for the world to see.

I’m at a crossroads. A bit of a struggle. You see, I have very bright and wonderful boys. 9 and 6. But I have boys who do not want to make school a priority. They want to be boys. And I haven’t found a good way through this.

My oldest, I literally have to stand over, stay in the same room with him and direct him what to do. I’ve tried timers, rewards, sticker charts, incentives, punishments, taking away screen time, etc. He is a dwadler. He will drop his pencil 20 times and lean over his chair to pick it up, knock over the chair, fall out onto the ground, all in an attempt to get out of doing math for a few minutes.

My youngest just isn’t interested. I’ve tried different books, different levels of phonics, easier math, harder math, and I’ve come to the conclusion they just don’t want to  “do school” when they are home.

Now I know that part of this is my own issue. There are things I want them to get through, that I know they can get through, but that they’d rather not get through. I just know they can do more, but they really don’t want to-in regards to school. But I feel like they would listen to a teacher better than they would listen to me. I don’t know if this is a true feeling for me, or if its just my mind, playing tricks on me, but often times, they do listen better when they are around other people.

Don’t get me wrong, they do listen. They have their chores they do in the mornings, and when we are out and about they know the rules–stay by me in the parking lot, behave in the grocery store, be respectful, etc. But it’s like as soon as I mention the word school, a switch flips and they just don’t want to do it.

This has gotten to the point where I myself am dreading even bringing up school. It has made me question if this is the right choice for them. I wonder if I would feel any better about their education if I put them in school. I don’t know. I’ve seen alot of posts about quitting homeschool, but not a whole lot where people are actually going through it in real time. And that is where I’m at right now. I want to do what is best for my kids, whatever that may be. But I am standing here in the middle of the road, with no directions, trying to figure out which way I need to go.

If only I had a crystal ball, to tell me which way is best for me to go. That is my struggle. So many paths. So many choices. So much resistance from my kiddos.

See, when I started this adventure with homeschool, I was strongly convicted by God to do so. And I still feel that way. I feel as though if I put them in school, (and I’m not passing judgement on anyone who has chosen that path. I feel this and am saying this only about myself and my personal life in this moment) that I will not be doing what God wants me to do with my children. So I guess I’m technically going against what I am convicted to do. That isn’t a great feeling, but neither is the dread of trying to get them to “do school” every day they don’t want to. Which is pretty much every day. They listen to almost everything else I ask them to do. I don’t believe it is an all out discipline problem with them. I don’t honestly know what it is, but I know it is a struggle. And I don’t have much of a support group, so going at it alone is pretty much what I’m doing. I believe this is the general struggle all Christians face, the decision between letting it go and trusting God, or giving in and doing it mans way. I’m not saying that public school is man’s way. I’m just saying that our choices on this earth are to follow God, or follow our own (mans) choices.

Something I’m clinging on to at the moment is a verse I read that encourages me to stay in my faith and not take it out of Gods hands. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. —Romans 8:28

Now, I’m not some bible thumping, people convicting, opinionated mama who negatively thwarts out bible verses to those out in the world who are hurting, in an attempt to get a word in, instead of showing them love in that moment where they are at in their lives.  I believe we are put on this earth to 1) LOVE GOD. and 2) LOVE PEOPLE. So if you think that my post is insinuating that you are not a good parent for putting your child in public school, or homeschooling when you can no longer take it, you are mistaken. I am simply putting my thought process on a computer screen of what I want to do with my own children.

While I’m not trying to be judgemental, I’m still conflicted. I know what I want to do, and I know what God wants me to do. I’m stuck, but I have to move across this intersection. I can’t chose to do God’s will, and wish the whole time that I didn’t or vice versa. I want to do what is best for my kids.  I don’t want to homeschool them with a grudge in my heart. I have to be in the right place in my heart to make the choice that I need to make. So we have a few weeks to make a decision. And I know in my heart that God uses all things for good. And he can use our mistakes to bring about good. So I have faith in knowing that whatever happens, God is there.

goats

Adding our Goats to the Homestead!

We’ve done it! We’ve added our goats to our farm and it has been such a wonderful experience thus far.

We’ve actually had them for a few months. I picked them up in March after they were 8 weeks old, from a farm about an hour away from our home. Crater, Heart, and Scarlet. The backbone of our homestead. 🙂 The journey thus far had been interesting.

From the beginning, Crater (our whether), was bottle fed. My oldest took the bottle feeding upon himself and jumped right in. He could have actually been weaned at this point, and probably should have been, but I wanted to give Benjibear the opportunity to feed him from a bottle.

Over the next month, Crater (who normally has a thick black coat) turned a brownish red color and I noticed some balding on his tail. He also became really skinny. Almost emaciated looking. Copper Deficiency. I treated him once in April and once in May, provided him with loose minerals and a mineral block specifically for goats, and he finally came out of it. I’d read a lot online about how the sheep/goat combo mineral blocks do not contain the appropriate amount of copper for goats, so just FYI for those reading, watch the copper content in any minerals you buy for your goats. I do not have a vet close by who is familiar with goats. But the people I bought them from were so very helpful. He is doing just great now with a dark black coat and a nice, full tail.

Heart and Scarlet are our two does we are going to be using for breeding. They will be ready to be bread when they are about a year old, so January 2019. The girls are not full blooded nigerian dwarfs, but a mix between a few breeds. The gentleman I bought them from is working towards breeding different goats to obtain a goat with the perfect balance bewteen milk and meat. He’s been working towards this goal for the last 7 years. But the reason I chose these goats was because of how sweet and incredibly loving they are. After my previous goat experience, with a shy, untrusting doe, I was excited to see how loving these girls were. And that is what sold me.

The kids have been taking care of them this summer, with the exception of trimming hooves, and they’ve really enjoyed playing out in the pen with them. It warms my heart to see them all together, running with the goats.

Romans 12:11-12  — Work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 

faith

In the Beginning…

Here it is! Finally, here is the start of our journey on to a different life.

But to give you an idea of why our lives are going to be different, let me start from the beginning.

It all started about 8 years ago. In May of 2008. I was getting ready to take my last final for my associates degree nursing class. I had stayed up through most the night before the test because I was feeling sick. At the time I attributed it to nerves. After all, this test was going to determine if I was going to be able to move on with my life as an RN, right? I mean, I was doing everything I was supposed to in this game called life. Trying to work my way up in the world by starting at the very bottom. Just like everyone else.

The morning of my final I woke up vomiting. I thought to myself, “No please, anything but this. There’s no way I can miss this test.” See, for those of you who don’t know about nursing finals, if you miss, its a huge deal. There had been horror stories at my university about people who missed the final and were not allowed to retake the test. period. Which is horrifying if you already have a job set up as a graduate nurse pending on, you know, graduating.

So I pressed on, got dressed, and headed out. I actually had to stop on my way to campus twice, to pull over on the side of the road and relive my stomach of the ginger ale I had drank in a pitiful attempt to calm my cramping GI tract. But, I made it to class and I made it on time, sat for the test, and was one of the last students to finish. Upon standing and making my way to exit the room, I started feeling woozy. I attempted to hold myself up on the back of a chair to no avail. The room was darkening and I was going down. I passed out.

I woke up a few minutes later with my then professor hovering over me, passing a wet washcloth over my eyes. She asked me if I was alright. “I guess so” I replied to her. She asked if I’d ever passed out before. “nope, never.” I was a little embarrassed because I wasn’t completely sure what happened. She then asked me something that brought my world crashing back. Something I had not yet even considered with the stress of passing my finals, setting up my NCLEX, and interviewing for my graduate nurse position at the hospital. She asked me if I was pregnant.

“Well, I don’t know. I don’t think so, but I should probably check I guess. I’ll check when I get home.” My head was spinning. How could I not know? Why didn’t I think of this? My boyfriend and I had our own place (we were renting from a friend) and I had recently moved out of my parents house. In all actuality I could be, but I was only 20. I had no idea of how to live on my own yet. What was I going to do. Maybe I wasn’t pregnant. But maybe I was.

…I was.

Thus starting the beginning of our little family. Our oldest son BenjiBear was born that November of 2008. My then boyfriend (now my husband) and I spent the next several years trying to figure out how to be parents, pay a mortgage, work, and manage a sitter. What a life shock. I mean, things were no longer about us anymore. We now had this tiny little life we were responsible for. Which in and of itself was a blessing. Children are a blessing for parents. They change you in ways you cannot even imagine. They mature you and put your life into perspective. In a beautifully humbling way.

We had our second child Zaineybaby in February of 2012. I was back in school finishing my bachelors degree for nursing. I had him halfway through my program and ended up having to take him to several classes with me because I was breastfeeding and unable to pump much. When I went back to work with my first kiddo, Benjibear, I was able to pump and breastfeed until he was 10 months old. For our own reasons, we did not want him to have formula. When I was at the point I could no longer produce milk for him, we chose to give him goats milk. After a ton of research, we had decided it was the best match for him. As it ended up, I breastfed Zaineybaby for 8 months before I was unable to produce anymore breastmilk. We switched him over to goats milk as well. Both of my kids thrived on it, which was the beginning of my love for goats milk, and goats.

I went on to finish my bachelors and head back to work. My boyfriend and I were working nights. Our sister in law was watching our two boys while I worked my 3 12 hour shifts at the hospital. Finally, an evening shift had become available. I jumped into that role to try to have a little more routine and be a little less tired from nightshift. My boyfriend and I had discussed homeschool with some degree of curiosity, but neither of us knew much about it. And the boys were still little so we had time to make our minds up. The next couple of years flew by between work, kids, birthdays, holidays, finding God, being saved (there’s another few posts to blog about in these years that passed, but we will save that for another time) and there was a marriage in there as well. (We ended up going to the courthouse to be married, nothing fancy, no big party. Much easier to do with the lives we were currently living). Until finally Benjibear was 5. It was December of 2013. The following August was the time we were going to have to make the decision to put him in school or homeschool.

To be perfectly honest, neither of us was comfortable with someone else teaching our children. I had recently been baptized and incorporating God into what my children learned was a priority. Especially with them being so young. After several conversations, a few sleepless nights while coming to a decision, and the encouragement of Benjibear himself that he wanted to stay home for school, we made that decision. We were going to homeschool our boys.

I switched to part-time at work and we began. We started in Kindergarten and went all the way through until the middle of first grade, when Benjibear asked me to go to public school. He wanted the chance to go to school. Both my husband and I felt that we needed to let him experience school if he was interested in it. So we did. We put him in. Shortly after starting him in school, we found our we were pregnant with baby #3. To make things interesting we did NOT find out the sex of the baby until we had HER. Yes, she was a girl, and another blessing to our lives.

So back to school. Benjibear started in the middle of his first grade year. By the end of his second grade year he was done, and so were we. We were spending two hours a night on average on math homework. He was getting picked on when he rode the bus, and I didn’t feel very comfortable with the things he was coming home and asking me. (Its astonishing what some little kids know about these days). So here we are again. We are finishing up the summer after his second grade year. My husband and I decided that we are going to homeschool again. I quit my full time job at the hospital this last May, to be home with my kiddos. But not just to be home….

After much deliberation, we have also decided, that we want to have goats. Not only have goats, but also have a small goat milk farm that we can make soap, sell milk, teach responsibility to our children by raising and taking care of the goats, and most of all, honor God by the work we do with our farm and family. So this is our goal. This is what we want to do with our lives. Here we are in the very beginning, after the beginning. We are going to do our best to figure out how to make this dream of ours a reality. Our reality. And by Gods grace, it will be.

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