Showing posts from 2015

A Day of Promise

When I woke up this morning, I had no idea that I would be closing down my day with such an abundance of gratitude in my heart.

I woke up earlier than I would have liked on an overcast Saturday morning. Today is the first official day of Christmas vacation. Not only do the kids and I get a break from homeschooling, but Daddy (who is a teacher) is home with us too.

I tried to burrow back into the covers, but my brain would not shut off with all the things I wanted to get done today. So, I put on a cute outfit yoga pants and a sweatshirt and enthusiastically cleaned the bathroom fired up the coffee pot, and got my day started.

Since I was up and I could see the feral hungry look in the cats' eyes (and heard the bellowing from the goats, cackles from the chickens and shenanigans from the dogs), I decided to let my family sleep and do their chores.

I walked outside and literally gasped aloud. In front of me was the most gorgeous double rainbow spanning the sky. I ran back in for my d…

We're All Refugees

I know you are horrified by the recent attacks in Paris.

I'm horrified too.

I know you are fearful of something similar happening in your country (and maybe not for the first time).

I have that fear too.

I know that many people are experiencing the gut-reaction of being emotionally kicked in the stomach. You want to curl into a ball and ward off the pain. You want to hold out your hands in protest to make it stop. To cease. To go back to the way things were.

I know that feeling too.

And yes, I have seen the posts and blogs and "news reports" that are angry, up-in-arms, full of national kick-butt-ary: "heck no, you can't come here and no one wants you so just go back to your own country and get what you deserve for being born into your cultural group."

In the natural, I have felt that way too.

But I'm not called to live in the natural. I'm called to live out of the nature of Christ.
And I feel this rising up in that supernatural realm of a profound c…

On Being Full-Strength

Coffee is one of my best friends.

Being a homeschool mom of 4 and trying to keep up with them, their schoolwork and our new farmhouse keeps me on my toes.

And it keeps me coming back to the coffee pot.

Every morning, making some coffee is usually one of my first waking thoughts.

I must have been especially tired the other day.

I staggered into the kitchen and filled the carafe with water and cleaned up the sink area while it brewed. I added some cream and caramel-flavored syrup to my favorite yellow cup. I poured in some delicious brown elixir distractedly and then sipped.

Something was wrong.

It didn't taste right.

It tasted like milky caramelly water.

And then I realized I forgot one crucial and important step.

I forgot to change out the coffee grounds and I had brewed a "fresh pot" with yesterday's filter and grounds.

It was not what I had eagerly anticipated. It was a disappointment, frankly.

I poured the watery stuff down the sink and then started over -- this …

Destination: Harmony; Population: Me & You

Harmony can be an elusive ideal we spend a lifetime chasing.

But, for me, Harmony is only a mere two and a half hour drive to the California coast. A nice leisurely meandering through farmland and rolling hills will deposit me in a small town consisting of exactly one street.

The city of Harmony, CA was founded by Swiss immigrants in 1869 who started dairy farms and a dairy processing operation. There was much infighting and rivalries that led to the operation changing many hands and even caused a death. In the early 1900's, parties involved agreed to call a truce and changed the name of their town to Harmony as a symbolic gesture of that decision.

Unfortunately, the harmony did not last and the town eventually died out almost completely. There were a few swells in population with the largest occurring in the 1970s by craftsman who had "found" the little town and wanted to create a place that would foster artistry and simple living.

Today Harmony sits all but unoccupie…

Dream Saga Series: Enjoying the Bounty

It's June on the farm, and it's been amazing to live here during the slide from spring into summer and enjoy some literal fruits of the season.
Last year at this time, we had just closed on the sale of our former home and were starting a rent-back period of one month. On June 1st of last year, we had been out to this lovely farmhouse, but had not decided to make the leap. That would come a few days later.
When we did make the offer and were in escrow and came out for inspections and visits, we enjoyed some of the fruit off the trees. However, by the time we moved into the house in late July, we had lost much of the grape and stone fruit harvest to the birds.

But not this year! This year we pruned trees and hung CDs from branches and watered and watered and the other night I had my very first apricot from our trees. And it was pure heaven! I hope I never lose the joy and wonder about being able to step out my front door and pick fruit right off the tree and eat it.
I have been…

Outing Victims Is Just Victimizing Them All Over Again

I have thought about sitting down several time and putting my thoughts to keys here on the recent talk about the son of a well-known TLC show family who has been accused of molesting underage girls when he was a teenager.
This is not an easy topic to write about.
Honestly, no sin should be easy or cavalier to share feelings or write about. However, I think it's safe to say that most people consider sexual sin to have greater weight to it than your garden variety of gossip, adultery or lying.
As a Christ-follower, I know that in His eyes, sin is sin. There is no quantification or degree involved. 
That is both humbling for those who have blown it big, and disturbing for those who have not. The idea that my ugly words could be seen as "murdering" someone's character is a hard pill to swallow. But this non-distinction keeps us from becoming proud and uttering the obvious, "well, I would NEVER ....", because honestly, in God's eyes, it's all the same.

Radical Transformation Always Requires Dying

Our church as been following the television show, A.D.: The Bible Continues on NBC as part of a campaign to get churches to both support the show and provide some framework for teaching on the book of Acts.

While I will admit to some skepticism at first on whether or not the content would be accurate (or Hollywood sensationalized), and whether the acting would be cheesy, I have been pleasantly surprised.

As our pastor says, it's not a 100% telling of the Bible. There is some supposition involved and subtle changes. However, it hits the mark more often than not and as a Christian it is a blessing to have a major network tell a story dear to my heart and with great acting and special effects.

The only minor issue with it is that it sometimes stops short of the full radical impact of the scripture. In the last full episode we watched (our family is a bit behind and catching up on the DVR), it showed the preaching and stoning of Stephen. It was greatly diminished and watered down fro…

Dear Open Letter...

Does anyone remember when Facebook was about seeing your friend's and family's pictures and updates and quirky little minutiae where everyone spoke about themselves in the third person.

Updates like, "Rachel is seriously considering cheating on her diet," and the occasional cat meme?

How I miss those days.

I'm glad we've made the leap to first person narrative. At least we are now honest about our fascination with ourselves in the lead role of our own piece of social media. However, now it seems like my news feed is chock full of videos of crazy You Tube antics, photos of people's food, and a ton of viral (or trying to go viral) blog posts or even "news outlet posts" of someone or a group calling out and shaming another person or group that they feel is overstepping.

At first they were couched in an "open letter" format.

I did a bit of research and found the open letter format is fairly old. Martin Luther used it while he was in jail.…

...and it is well with me

Today I had the privilege of sitting with my beautiful friend, Leah, who is literally struggling to breathe without assistance.
After some time of reading together, and listening to worship music, etc, it was time for the respiratory tech to come and try taking her off the machine to allow her lungs to work on their own and work towards getting off the ventilator.
It's a struggle for her because of fluid that has built up around and in her lungs. The tech described it as trying to do a hard core work out but only being able to breathe through a straw.
As you can imagine, facing this, Leah was a bit nervous. But determined. So determined.
As we waited for the tubes to be unplugged and for the test to begin, this song came on and I got to witness what was one of the most beautiful moments I have had the pleasure to see firsthand.
I have a special handful that I keep close to my heart and I bring these mental snapshots out from time to time and reminisce and rejoice over them. This …

All the Things Every Parent Wants for Their Child

Today was one of those days again where I had to sit back in amazement and think of how much things have changed over the last few years.
Many of our family and friends know that we have been wrestling with a diagnosis of ADHD and dyslexia and some unspecified sensory issues with our now nine-year-old. I'm not sure why my blog has not reflected this journey. My last post about the topic was two-years ago.
Perhaps it has been a little bit too intense -- a little bit too personal -- to share. Perhaps we have been so busy finding resources, working our plan and just surviving to try to synthesize info into a bite-size blog post.
Maybe it's all that and some other things I do not yet realize and cannot name.
The sting of those words and the helplessness that I felt as her mother is still fresh. I felt as if our genetic code had somehow let her down.
But as with most parents who have children "on the spectrum," we couldn't afford much time for sorrow and recriminatio…

Great is His Faithfulness

The other day I was in the shower, where I do my best thinking, probably because it's kid-free and somewhat quiet, and the lyric from a beloved hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, came to mind.

"Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow...."
You see, I had been thinking a lot about fear and anxiety. I have had some hectic and crazy days and have spent my fair share worrying about how to get all that I need to do in the next several weeks.

I was not alone in my worrying...I had also spoken with two kindreds who were also walking through similar things. All of us super planners, the fear of the unknown and unplannable was almost paralyzing.

As I thought about that line, I realized that what I had been wanting was strength for tomorrow and next week and next month.

But as the song so eloquently says, the strength is not in tomorrow, it's in today.

Yes, there is bright hope for tomorrow because my faith is in my great and faithful God. But there is no strength in tom…

What Lies Beneath

It's hard work owning a farm.

I knew this going into it, but I think I might have romanticized it a teensy bit when everything was well-tended and move-in ready.

The reality is that it takes a lot of work to keep everything looking as ideal as it first did.

Most weekends will find us outside doing all sorts of farm chores. We have whacked walnut shells out of a tree, pruned trees in the orchard, picked up massive amounts of citrus off the ground and off of trees, pruned grape vines, pulled tumbleweeds, converted an outbuilding to a chicken house, created an animal enclosure, repaired the animal enclosure, modified the animal enclosure, etc.

Today was like most weekends and as I was getting ready to shower off the grime, I thought about what we had spent our hours on outside and realized that to anyone else, it would like we hadn't done a thing.

Because all of the work we did was hidden.

Literally hidden.

We have had some losses recently. First it was our one lone white chicke…