Family

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.

Pot Pie

Today is our four week anniversary of being in our farm home! We have done a lot of settling and are slowly getting into a routine. School is back in session. All the joys of home-life are in full swing. There is not one dull moment here!

My latest fun has been exploring new recipes with a great cookbook we got for Christmas. It is called “The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook: Healthy Cooking and Good Living with Pasture-Raised Foods” by Shannon Hayes. One recipe that is super for using up leftover chicken or turkey is the Chicken Pot Pie with Herbed Crust. Everyone loves it, and it has turned out delicious with either chicken or turkey (yes, we’ve had both since we’ve been here!). Here’s the recipe:


Chicken Pot Pie with Herbed Crust
Serves 6

For the herbed pie crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus some extra for rolling out the dough
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
8 tablespoons butter or lard
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and dried herbs in a medium bowl. Use a pastry blender or fork to cut the butter or lard into the flour mixture until it is crumbly. Add the ice water gradually, mixing quickly with a fork until the dough is just moist enough to hold together. be careful not to add too much water. you may not need the full 6 tablespoons. Shape the dough into a ball, then place on a floured surface and roll out to a rectangle at least 9×13 inches.

For the filling:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 small stalks celery, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, scraped and finely chopped
1 large onion, sliced into thin wedges
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup fresh or thawed whole corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
3 cups cooked chicken or turkey, shredded
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 tablespoon fresh
2 tablespoons dry sherry

Preheat oven to 400`F

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large, nonreactive saucepan, then saute the celery, carrots, and onions over medium-high heat until they are crisp=tender, approximately 4-5 minutes. Remove to a large bowl, and keep warm. Add the salt, pepper, corn, peas, and shredded chicken or turkey to the vegetables, and stir gently until well combined.

Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in the saucepan. Turn off the heat, add the flour, and stir in quickly. The mixture will be pasty. Over medium heat, stir in the broth, milk, half-and-half, and thyme. Bring the liquid to a boil, stirring occasionally; lower the heat and simmer, stirring often, until the sauce is thick and rich. Stir in the sherry.

Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables, and mix gently. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Pour the entire contents of the bowl into a 13-x-9-inch baking pan, and top with the herbed pie crust. Fold down and crimp overlapping edges so that the crust fits inside the pan. Pierce the top several times with a sharp knife, and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

Bon Appetit!

Twentyeleven

The year ahead will be different for our family. Each passing year seems to bring about changes in our lives… the addition of a child, a move, or job change for Ian. We all have many hopes for twenty eleven. The dream to go work the land and have a farm for our family is in the first phase: we’re here. We landed. Now the real work begins.

I believe the hope of God’s gift in planting the dream is what will continue to motivate us each of us to work hard at each step and challenge that lies ahead. We have much to learn, plan and just plain try to do. Realizing that we will have set-backs and disappointments is a hard lump to swallow… I can only imagine once we’re in the midst of one what it truly will feel like.

The famous quote by Thomas H. Palmer rings in my ears,

“Tis a lesson you should heed,
Try, try again.
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try again.”

Our efforts in success will not be for our glory or gain, but out of honoring the One who planted the goals within. We hope to share our struggles and victories as we trust in God and journey forward as a family!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.”
-Proverbs 3:5-6

Big Changes

We moved from the Florida sunshine and into the beautiful Virginia mountains this past weekend! The stages of unpacking and trying to get settled before Christmas has been challenging… Yet I sense God’s peace of knowing that all is well, even if our new home is in chaos.

We hope to share more about our last several months and journey to where we are now. In the meantime, we will be busy adjusting and organizing our new home. Thank you for visiting us here at the family blog!

Are You too B-U-S-Y?

Saw this in “Today’s Word For You”
Strikes a bit of a chord, though we have been working to remove these temptations from our lives.

Saturday October 2
“That Satan might not outwit us.” 2Co 2:11 NIV
Are You too B-U-S-Y?
Addressing a worldwide convention of demons, Satan told them: “As long as Christians stay close to God we’ve no power over them, so: (1) Keep them busy with non-essentials. (2) Tempt them to overspend and go into debt. (3) Make them work long hours to maintain empty lifestyles. (4). Discourage them from spending family time, for when homes disintegrate there’s no refuge from work. (5) Overstimulate their minds with television and computers so that they can’t hear God speaking to them. (6) Fill their coffee tables and nightstands with newspapers and magazines so they’ve no time for Bible reading. (7) Flood their mailboxes with sweepstakes, promotions and get-rich-quick schemes; keep them chasing material things. (8) Put glamorous models on TV and on magazine covers to keep them focused on outward appearances; that way they’ll be dissatisfied with themselves and their mates. (9) Make sure couples are too exhausted for physical intimacy; that way they’ll be tempted to look elsewhere. (10) Emphasize Santa and the Easter Bunny; that way you’ll divert them from the real meaning of the holidays. (11) Involve them in ‘good’ causes so they won’t have any time for ‘eternal’ ones. (12) Make them self-sufficient. Keep them so busy working in their own strength that they’ll never know the joy of God’s power working through them. Do these twelve things faithfully. I promise – it’ll work!” Have you figured out the difference between being busy and being successful in what God’s called you to do? Sometimes being B-U-S-Y just means Being Under Satan’s Yoke!

Prayer for Boys

We’ve started our school year! I found this poem for our eldest son to learn and transcribe. My prayer is that he will take it to heart and make this a prayer that he can turn to, whether faced with difficulty or just needing direction.

Lord, Make a Real Man out of Me

This, 1 would like to be: braver and bolder,
Just a bit wiser because I am older,
Just a bit kinder to those I may meet,
Just a bit manlier taking defeat.
Lord, make a regular man out of me.

This I would like to be: just a bit finer,
More of a smiler and less of a whiner,
Just a bit quicker to stretch out my hand,
Helping another who’s struggling to stand.
Lord, make a regular man out of me.

This, I would like to be: just a bit fairer,
Just a bit better, and just a bit squarer,
Not quite so ready to censure and blame,
Quicker to help every man in the game.
Lord, make a regular man out of me.

This, I would like to be: just a bit truer,
Less of a wisher and more of a doer,
Broader and bigger, more willing to give,
Living and helping my neighbors to live!
Lord, make a regular man out of me.

Edgar A. Guest

Happy Birthday to a Great Grandma!

Marion & Tom's Wedding Picture

This is my Grandma & Grandpa's wedding photo

My Grandma turns 90 years old today!! We are so honored to have her as a part of family’s life and blessed to see her as often as we do!  Click on the link below to view a little slide show that celebrate the wonderful Mom/Grandma/Great Grandma that she is!

MarionBeaver90thSmall

Marion Beaver is Mother of four (Richard, Robert, Betty, and Phyllis), Grandmother of five (Todd, Jay, Joe, Jim, and Carolyn), and Great Grandmother of TEN (Jonas, Evelyn, Elliot, Joy, Sylvia, Carlin, Evan, Kate, Maggie, and Dominic).

Our Backyard Birds

We have a crape myrtle in our backyard that a pair of Northern Mockingbirds have made a home in… We watched as they built their nest from sticks and other yard items. This past Tuesday, Ian noticed that there was an egg in their nest! A beautiful one, at that. Then yesterday (Thursday) we saw there was another egg! It is fascinating to watch the birds protect their nest and babies as squirrels attempt to get at it. Something that we learned in home school last year was that gray squirrels like to steal eggs to eat (A great book is The Burgess Animal Book for Children). It is truly amazing to see the defense and attacks that take place on the utility wires that run high above our back fence… the squirrel is chased away by the swooping, attacking bird (we think it must be the daddy bird). To learn more about Northern Mockingbirds (which happens to be Florida’s state bird) click here. God’s creation is amazing! Enjoy the pictures (courtesy of Ian)!

The Crape Myrtle... The nest is in the very center.

The Crape Myrtle... The nest is in the very center.

Bird on a wire

Bird on a wire

The beginning stage of their nest.

The beginning stage of their nest.

The nest... complete!

The nest... complete!

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird

Their eggs... they are beautiful!

Their eggs... they are beautiful!