Creation

I Think It’s Time

Time for an update. Here.  Now.  Well, the last two months have been busy, yet slow, exciting, yet wishful.  Such a mixture of happenings and feelings, changes and hopes.

Okay.  That’s informational! So… we have had a lot going on.  First of all, our winter has been so mild and warm, which is not all bad.  We’ve had plenty of days to be outside, playing in the sunshine & greenish brown grass… but there is a part of me that has longed for ice cold days where the only place you are comfortable is in front of the wood stove, snuggled together enjoying a good book.

So perhaps it is really time for gratitude.  I am slowly learning.  To be thankful.  See the gifts of each day.  Each moment.

A misty morning sunrise over winter trees.

A lone pine cones clinging to a branch.

The sun's rays bringing radiance to the mountains.

At some point soon, I hope to share more of what these winter months have held for us. For now, I share my need to seek and find the blessings of the little moments.  Snippets of grace and glory from God.  May my lips praise the One who is Lord of All.

Through Him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess His name.”

-Hebrews 13:15

He [Job] said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

-Job 1:21

First Year Farmers

Monday, December 19, 2011, we celebrated our one year anniversary of moving to the farm! We are amazed at all this past year has held for us… how we have learned and grown in more ways than we ever could have dreamed!  We shared a taste of our year as “First Year Farmers” in an article from our Christmas Newsletter that we mailed to friends and family… enjoy!

Reilly Family

First Year Farmers
You might be wondering, “How did that kooky family that decided to go and become farmers actually do this year?” We’re here to write that we survived. Actually, we more than survived. We thrived! The winter months here were sweet with settling in and exploring the farm and local community. We quickly re-started our educational endeavors home schooling our children, and especially enjoyed our Nature walks and animal adventures as we neared Spring! We began our Farm business in April with the purchase of 125 baby chicks that we would raise for our first layers. The kids loved caring for these active little birds!
We then added broilers (meat chickens) in May, really picking up our farming pace! Over the Summer, we continued to add broilers in intervals, reaching a total of 200 that we raised on our lush green pastures and processed on the farm.

This past Monday, December 12th, we sold the last of our broilers! People are hearing more and more about Four Corners Farm… through word of mouth, our flyers and posters out and about, and best of all, from our regular customers. The relationships that have formed through our farm have encouraged and energized us in many ways. And the support of our family and friends continues to bless us and spur us on in the passion and purpose we’ve found in family farming.

One of the blessings in our transitioning into farming is that Ian was able to continue working for the University of Florida. This continues to be a gift and is helpful in so many ways, allowing some financial freedoms as we venture forward in farming. We were able to utilize this income toward feed costs, product packaging needs, and other farm investments.

As we look back over the last year, we see many failures and successes. Whether we failed or succeeded, we are not to decide, but choose to thank God for His leading and direction, for the dream planted in our hearts. We give God the glory for our first year farming, failures and all, as He used all the experiences to teach us and grow us, in more ways imaginable!

Autumn

Well, we have had such a busy autumn! From a family trip to Williamsburg, VA, to a Dinner and a Movie (FRESH) showing here at the farm, to a big family reunion… our fall has been a blur!

Throughout the last couple of months, I have been reminded over and over (and over and over!!) to slow down. Even if it is simply my breathing! Moments can just slip away without notice and I feel within my soul this lurching forward to grab it back. Maybe even take back something that may have spilled out of my unthoughtful lips and ungrateful heart. It is sad that when we allow the busyness to overtake us, that we so easily slip into selfishness, control and defense mode. At least I tend to. Amongst the to-do lists and laundry, tears and smiles, there are moments of calm. Peace. The presence of my Creator.

All the seasons are so defined here in Virginia… this Florida girl is cherishing the transitions between them. As we experienced our first autumn here in Virginia, I sensed God speaking to me through the falling leaves. Some ripped off by the breeze, others ready to be released and tossed gently in the wind. Regardless of how, the trees were ready to be bare. Preparing for dormancy and rest. Quiet. Solitude. I believe that our souls need to experience changes of seasons also. It is important for us to have a time of unloading, “de-leafing”, and shedding an outer layer of ourselves. A time to peel back and then in the winter, explore a little deeper within what we believe. Making room for quiet and even rest for our weary souls. We must not forget that Spring always comes… with its glorious greens and vibrant colorful flowers… our souls re-awaken from the quiet, ready to march ahead and shout for joy at the newly discovered depth of relationship with our Maker! And then into the flourish of Summer. Busily sowing and harvesting, growing and serving, praising the One who encourages us on. Until again, we return to Autumn, ready to let go a little more of ourselves and prepare again for restoration in the peace and quiet presence of Winter.

And so the Season cycle goes… for our world and our souls. I pray that we will seek time this Christmas Season to have solitude and reflect on the Seasons of our soul. To allow God to work in us and deepen our faith.

Peace to you and yours…

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

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!

.

.

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.

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

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.