March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Today we celebrate the gift of eternal life, given by the only One who could offer such a gift.
He loved us enough to come to earth, not as a gallant king, but as a babe.
He bore our sins so that we could be forgiven.

He chose to die so that we may live.

He conquered death and arose again just as He promised.
He desires to give you the gift of freedom in Him.

Oh victorious day!

March 27, 2013

New Around Here

 Our egg business is booming, so we are expanding the areas for our chickens to free-range.  We've put in a lot of hours creating fences.  I'd much rather do it now with a big jacket and gloves than when it is 95 degrees and the bugs are chewing on every inch of exposed flesh.  Nope, not a fan.
Working with the church youth group has its fringe benefits.  We enlisted some free help to dig fence posts.  My kids even admitted how fun the "work" was when it involved friends.  Their reward was playtime on the 4wheelers and a hot lunch when they finished.

Speaking of rewards, I felt like I discovered the 1st golden nugget in 1849 the other day when I happened upon these:
 Wow.  One of my favorite candy bars in egg form.  Yes, I do love spring!

We have a new set of foster pups at the farm.  They are big bundles of sweetness.  Their momma was a gentle German Shepherd.  I never knew German Shepherds could be so sweet!  Three girls and a boy.  They sure are a lot more calm that our last little yapperoos!

We are goat-sitting for my husband's boss.  Rocky and Niecy have joined the farm.
I'm not gonna lie.  Their horns scare me a little, but so far they've proven to be gentle.

Are you a  Moon Pie fan?  I'm not so much, but this coffee caught my eye the other day. I know Beth Moore loves Moon Pies and coffee.  Wonder if she's discovered this...

 Speaking of discoveries, I nearly popped a wheelie with my Target cart the other day.  My favorite Easter season candy is Cadbury Mini Eggs.  I didn't think it could get better than their crunchy sugar shells and melt-in-your-mouth chocolatey center until...
Until I discovered they are now available in DARK chocolate.
Yes, I know the package in the picture is a mess.  That is what happens when you have to crumple the package into a tiny space to hide them from your ferrel children who steal chocolate.  Most candy I'm willing to sacrifice.  Not this one.
What's your favorite candy of the season?

March 26, 2013

Crafty Tuesday

We watched the rain come and go at the farm yesterday.

 It was cold enough to keep us indoors.  We decided to create spring with paint and paper.
We go through crafty seasons.  I wish I were more consistent.  We all love doing it.  Until someone gets the I'm-not-good-at-this bug.  But for the most part, my kids still get excited when I pull out the craft stuff.  We used a white crayon to draw Easter eggs, our names, "spring" onto craft paper. I still haven't discovered my box of water color tubes since the move, so we improvised and watered down acrylics.  Tomato, tomoto.  We then brushed lightly with the paint and revealed the image.  Simple fun.
Last night my girls and I had a lesson on pysanky egg making, which is a true art, not just a craft!  A sweet friend invited us into her home (with all the cool supplies) for a lesson on wax and dyes.

We had so much fun learning an ancient craft.  Ours weren't perfect, but we sure had fun leaning!  My friend gave us the etched brown eggs from our hens!
Today the kids wanted to make paper pysanky eggs.
 I found the printables here.

Tomorrow we will read this:
And we will try this easy craft.  I'm going to keep this craft ball (or egg) rolling!
Happy Tuesday!

March 24, 2013

Mothering: Releasing the Chains of Fear

"What if they don't turn out right?"  "What if I've utterly messed them up?"
It is the voice of fear. I know her voice so well.  It is a word we shame.  It locks onto our hearts and flows into spaces only the Comforter can fill.  Fear is not often discussed because it reveals weakness.

When you are in the throes of motherhood, the floundering moments often burn brighter than the cumulation of moments flourished.  We are so skilled at seeing our weaknesses and momentary failures that we begin to believe that our mother-making is a failure.

Be encouraged.
Your role as a mother goes beyond the tendrils of doubt and past the reaches of a few bad days thrown into the pot.   You are the mother that God chose for YOUR children.
Even the best of us have days that the comfort of downy blankets call with the promise that starting over would be better for everyone.  The most relaxed mothers still have moments of exasperation.  We are imperfect, needy humans.  We are human.  Only the Perfect Father could survive days of sibling rivalry, ungrateful hearts, and wearisome behavior without hiding beneath the veil of failure.

Some days this mothering business is more about molding the mother's heart than the rearing of children. Your heavenly Father desires to see you bloom and flourish.  He desires for you to recognize your need for Him.  He is the one who will ultimately fashion your child's heart.  You are the gardener, given the soil of their hearts.  It is a privilege to labor and toil in the dirt.  It is also messy work that requires rest along the way.  We are not asked to create perfect children.  We are given the tasks of watering their souls with God's truths; protecting them from the weeds of destructive culture; and tending to their needs with a heart of love.

Before you allow the "what if's" of fear to fill your heart,
remember that He has.
He has your child in the palm of His hand.
He has the future.
He has enough grace to cover our mistakes.
He has chosen you, regardless of your weaknesses.
He has the ability to bound  the chains of fear and set your heart free.

March 21, 2013

Welcome Spring

 Even though the calendar says it's officially spring, it feels a little questionable today at 39 degrees at 3:00 in the afternoon.  Spring has decided to play a little hide-n-seek in NC.  If you don't like the weather, just wait a day.  ;)
 We've pulled out the spring/Easter stuff around here.  Eggs make me happy.  They softly speak words of new beginnings to my soul.  I'm slightly obsessed with a new font in the "welcome spring" frame.  It is called "Things We Said."  You can download it for free here.

 I went with a blue and white theme for our entry way.  I feel a little rushed this year, maybe because Easter is SO early.  Oh well, my eggs are going to stay put for quite a while.

Our kids love the outdoors, but there are still days that I have to make them go outside.  Just last week these two were, ahem, needing to go out.  I told them to bundle up and go play basketball.  They not-so-happily obeyed, but before long, they were having so much fun I could hear their laughter through the window.  So I did what every normal (right?) parent would do and snuck pictures of them through the window.

They just needed a little fresh air and an opportunity to burn off some overflowing energy.
Yes, Spring, we welcome you!!

March 13, 2013

When Being the Life of the Party Becomes Lonely

"Emma is a really good friend, Mom.   Not only is she sweet, funny and kind, but she also invites me over to her house.  It's not just me having her here all the time."  These words were spoken by my twelve year old daughter just last week.  Her statement couldn't have been more timely.  Over the last few weeks, I have been pondering the same sentiment, albeit a little less from the cup-is-half-full perspective.

My husband and I love to entertain.  We enjoy planning events.  We love people.  One of the main objectives of our farm purchase was to share it with others.  We crave fellowship, whether it be a crowd or a couple.

But sometimes...
~sometimes it gets lonely being the one to invariably invite others into our home
~sometimes rejection stings
~sometimes it would be nice to be invited to do something without being the planner

Life is busy, but sometimes the lack of effort is painful to those we don't even mean to hurt.  I can pretty much be sure that none of our friends are thinking, "let's NOT invite them over."  I think it is more of an oversight, an omission rather than intentional.

Over the last few months we've waffled between "what's wrong with us" to "maybe we'll just stop the invitations and see what happens."  We have some dear friends who have also dealt with this issue amongst their extended family.  They chose a "Year of No," not to retaliate, but to protect their hearts because they felt they were setting themselves up for hurt and disappointment when their efforts were not reciprocated.  In some relationships, that is the boundary line that is necessary for the protection of emotional health.
We aren't to the point of a "year of no", but we feel the sting.

The most difficult pill to swallow is when we begin to see our kids suffer.  My oldest daughter recently said, "Mom, I'm always inviting friends over, but I feel like they never want me to come to their house.  It really hurts."  Yes, baby, it does hurt no matter how old you are.  My response was that our house is a fun place to be and we make people feel welcome, so they want to come.  Which is true, but sometimes it would be nice...

So today I encourage you to seek out those in your life who are the "life of the party."  Might they be feeling lonely?  Are you extending the hand of hospitality?  What about your children?  Are you teaching them the value of hospitality?
You don't have to make it a production.  The size of your home doesn't matter.  Real friends don't mind if there are dust bunnies in the corners.
A thoughtful invitation rejuvenates the soul, warms the heart and builds relationships.

I'm joining Imparting Grace today

March 8, 2013

Friday Favorites ~ Baker's Edition ~

 I've been in the kitchen a lot this week.  Sometimes I think my inner baker is bi-polar because I'm either all or none.  This week has been ALL.
 We've gone through 3 batches of these energy bites.  I had a large jar of nasty no-taste crunchy almond butter and this was the perfect way to use it up.  With mini chocolate chips, I easily tricked my palate into believing I was consuming multiple Almond Joy bars.

 We've also gone through a double batch of the world's best homemade granola.  I love it in the morning as a bowl of cereal, and as a garnish for my yogurt at lunch.

 For the first time EVER, I tried making homemade pretzels.  They weren't pretty, but they were addictively delicious.  My husband even requested a second batch!

To give you a peek into my glutton filled world, I have to confess this:
I pulled out my ancient bread machine.
As I type, it is working its magic.
Someone save me from myself.  It's totally out of control over here!

What's your favorite baker's delight?

March 4, 2013

Farmhouse Kitchen (an update)

It took me awhile, but after the Christmas glitter dust settled, I am finally feeling at home in my new kitchen.  Kind of like a good shoe, I had to try it on and wear it through a season before it fit.  

We've fallen into the routine of eating most meals at the island.  Special meals and weekend dinners get the "big" table.  
By adding some curtains, my whole kitchen seems a little more cozy.  The fabric is seersucker, which I had never worked with before, but I was pleased with how it turned out.  Simple with...
 A little bling on the curtain rod!

 Colors make me happy.  I used to live in a monochromatic world, but I've found that colorful accents make me hum a little more.
We chose a neutral wall color (Sherwin Williams Front Porch) so that I could have fun with, well, the fun stuff!

Curtain fabric: Walmart         Curtain Rod: Ross
Paint: Sherwin Williams         Cabinets: Starmark
Granite: Absolute Black          Towels: Target and Kohls
Lampshade: Target                 Colander: Home Goods
Stools:           Photo Frame: Hobby Lobby

I'm linking up with:
Imparting Grace                          My Front Porch To Yours
Frugally Sustainable                  The Charm of Home
Home Acre Hop                         Shabby Creek Cottage
The Vintage Farmhouse           Beyond The Picket Fence
No Minimalist Here                  The 36th Avenue
Savvy Southern Style