carolyn

Our First Calf

We are thrilled to announce that our first Jersey heifer calf was born on the farm yesterday, July 4, 2011! Mama Buttercup is doing well and so is the aptly named Abigail Martha (let me know if you can figure out how we came up with that… and yes, it is related to the 4th of July). Here are a couple pictures to enjoy!

Abigail Martha Reilly

A Joyful 2nd Birthday Celebration

What a special day we had celebrating Joy Elizabeth turning 2 years old! Enjoy this precious video of her!

Joy birthday #2

Joy Elizabeth’s 2nd Birthday!

She’s turning two already?? Ian and I are amazed at how the last two years have traversed so quickly! We are grateful for our sweet little Joy Elizabeth and how she truly lives up to her name and brings joy to all who meet her. Remembering my pregnancy with her and treasuring the home birth experience has left me a bit tearfully thankful. I thank the Lord for all that He has done throughout my life… stirring me, growing me, stretching my faith. And I think how wonderful that we, as parents, get to be a part of modeling the walk of believing God and trusting Him for our children to see and learn. God’s faithfulness and tender love for all of us is overwhelming at times and I must strive to live out that faithful love and overflow with tenderness to our children. I am reminded of Paul’s words in Philippians 4:13-14

“Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”

I thank God that He has kept drawing me into the future… I can not dwell on things of the past… I can treasure what God has done recalling His faithfulness and love (Praise You God!) but to think of regrets steals the joy of the present that God longs for me to embrace. If you would like to look back with me at my experience of having a home birth and trusting the Lord through the birth experience, you can view my blog entry here.

And here she is… the beautiful birthday girl!

Our Special Easter Celebration

This Easter was truly a special time for our family. Our oldest three children had decided to be baptized and take the step of outwardly showing what they had already decided in their hearts… to give their lives to Christ and ask Him to live in their hearts. Daddy had the wonderful privilege of baptizing them himself, in the creek that runs along the back of our farm. We rejoice in the new life that Christ has given us and that He restores us to right relationship with the Heavenly Father through what He did on the cross and the power of the resurrection. Their personal faith was visibly expressed and we are overjoyed at their decision! Here are some pictures to enjoy!

Jonas and Daddy praying

Pre-dunk!

He's in!

And he's up!

Praise God!


Evelyn and Daddy praying

Pre dunk!

She's in!

And she's up!

Hallelujah!

Elliot and Daddy praying

Pre dunk!

He's in!

And he's up!

Thank you Lord!

.

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Adornment

“Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair, and by wearing gold ornaments or fine clothing; rather, let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight. It was in this way long ago that the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves by accepting the authority of their husbands. Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham and called him lord. You have become her daughters as long as you do what is good and never let fears alarm you.” – 1 Peter 3:3-6 NRSV

I was catching up in a devotional book I like to read in (Kay Arthur’s Search My Heart, O God) and yesterday’s struck a chord for me. A vulnerable one at that and yet I feel compelled to share it here. I don’t believe that I am the only one who has felt frustrated with looking so much at the physical self. God longs for us to first of all look to Him and He then shows us the beauty He has woven inside of us. Here are Mrs. Arthur’s words of wisdom and insight:

Has life become one ongoing beauty contest? Are you constantly comparing yourself with others? Every time you step in front of a mirror, especially after showering, do you look at your thighs, arms, torso – and sigh? The little collections of fat are beginning to show, your skin’s not smooth and supple like it once was, your muscles are sagging. You dread being seen in a bathing suit or shorts, especially when you measure yourself against the ads on billboards, on television, and in the magazines.
Before you think about surgery or start buying every piece of workout equipment advertised on television, before you deem yourself inferior, consider this: Maybe you are miserable about what God never intended you or anyone else to expose.
If you have been more concerned with your appearance than with the condition of your heart, it’s time for you to confess your pride and let go of worldly things. Remember, a gentle and quiet spirit is more precious in God’s sight than any outward appearance (1 Peter 3:3-4).

O god, I pray that You will teach me to rest in the confidence that I belong to Christ. Rather than comparing myself to others -or even to what I used to be- let me glory in the work You have done in me. May my inner beauty far outshine my physical appearance.

May I adorn myself with God’s Word written in my heart and mind and reflect the beauty and grace of Him.

Spring Photos at the Farm

Enjoy our Spring photos!

Glorious Spring!

Spring on our Virginia farm has been glorious! To this Florida girl, it is beautiful to slowly watch everything come to life. Some trees literally blossom overnight. Everyday, there is a new color, shade of green or show of life that reveals itself. I love it here. I was reminded of a poem that Jonas and Evelyn memorized a couple years ago entitled “Spring” by William Blake. In this poem, it repeats, “Merrily, Merrily, to welcome in the year.” I never quite understood until now, how the new year relates to nature’s new year… the year beginning for plants and animals… and how in this newness of the world surrounding us, a sense of newness is revived in our souls. Awakening our wintry hearts by the warmth of the sun we find joy that God gives us in the simple beauty of His creation. I pray that you are celebrating the wonder of spring and welcoming in the new year in your heart, remembering anew that God is good!

Spring

Sound the flute!
Now it’s mute!
Bird’s delight,
Day and night,
Nightingale,
In the dale,
Lark in sky,–
Merrily,
Merrily merrily, to welcome in the year.

Little boy,
Full of joy;
Little girl,
Sweet and small;
Cock does crow,
So do you;
Merry voice,
Infant noise;
Merrily, merrily, to welcome in the year.

Little lamb,
Here I am;
Come and lick
My white neck;
Let me pull
Your soft wool;
Let me kiss
Your soft face;
Merrily, merrily, to welcome in the year.

By William Blake

Honey Roasted Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

This is an absolutely delicious and easy meal to make! The recipe is from The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook by Shannon Hayes. We love using pasture raised pork for this… I encourage you to find a local farmer who raised pastured pigs and then support them! A great resource for finding a farm near you is Local Harvest.

Honey Roasted Pork Chops with Apples and Onions
Serves 2

1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons rubbed sage (I didn’t have any sage on hand, so I substituted with Marjoram)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pork chops (rib, shoulder, loin, and country ribs are all okay to use)
1/3 cup apple cider or juice
1 tart, firm apple, cored and cut into thick slices, but not peeled
1 small onion, thinly sliced into rings
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons honey (we use raw honey)

Preheat oven to 350̊ F.

Combine the salt, pepper, and sage; rub into the meat.

Pour the olive oil into a heated ovenproof skillet (we use cast iron), and sear the chops over medium heat, 1 minute per side or until browned. Remove from heat, add the cider, sliced apple, onion, and raisins. Drizzle with honey, cover and roas for 1 1/2 hours or until fork-tender.

You have to try this recipe!!

Fresh Perspective

A Fresh Perspective

These last two months have been full of learning experiences… farm, family, spiritual, and overall life learning has been taking place. Each experience has slowly brought us to a new, fresh perspective of life. One of our first farm lessons has been that part of farm life is death. As odd as that may sound, death happens on a farm. Whether raising animals or plants, death happens. Killing insects that flock to plants (we’d prefer organic methods for this) or predators that sneak in and kill chickens, and the farmer who defends the lives of those chickens and kills the predator (in our case, a raccoon).

All of us have adjusted well to living “out in the country.” We’re actually not that far from the town of Rocky Mount or from downtown Roanoke. But, yes, country life has been sweet for us. Being outdoors most of our weekends, working, cleaning, playing… it has been a joy to work together as a family and learn more of each others strengths and well, weakness, too. I personally have learned more about myself and am discovering more of what my role will be here on the homestead. Planning, preparing and keeping the home has become more and more of a joy for me. This includes garden planning, meal plans, organizing the home, figuring out a system that works for our family in the stage we are in now.

Spiritually, we are learning to trust God in all of our little baby steps. And with every step forward we make, the challenge becomes to remember where we’ve been, where God has brought us and to be thankful for ALL He has done and continues to do in our lives. Isn’t it amazing that when we take the time to be thankful and express our gratitude to our Creator, that our perspective begins to change? I am grateful for learning from my children in their excitement and joy over simple (long forgotten by me) fun things. Things such as mud. And imaginary play. The feel of grass under your feet on a sunny afternoon. These are the sort of things as a child that brought such a sense of overwhelming peace and contentedness to my spirit. Why should I forget that? I am challenged to play in the dirt, walk barefoot in the fields and dance and sing all for the joy of living! Why worry about the next steps?  God will continue to provide and lead… in the meantime, enjoy the journey and rejoice!

Winter Photos

You may also view this set of photos with description by clicking here.