God

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.

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!

Save Blue Like Jazz

Ian and I read Blue Like Jazz by Don Miller several years ago… What an incredible book it is! We both loved it as it helped opened our eyes and explore our faith in Christ in a fresh way. If you’ve read the book, then you know the heart of Don’s message and the value of spreading it. Would you take two minutes to watch this video and see how you can help share Blue Like Jazz with the world? If you have not read the book, we highly recommend reading it!

Save Blue Like Jazz from Save Blue Like Jazz on Vimeo.

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

True Beauty

“…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.” – 1 Peter 3:4

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” – Proverbs 31:30

Why is the cosmetic and personal care industry so large and continues to grow making billions and billions of dollars every year? How is it that we purchase products looking for the “next best thing” for our hair, skin, & body? There is a lie at war with women that tells us to be more beautiful than others… to work so hard to keep up our outward appearance and adorn ourselves with whatever is of the latest fashion. Perfumes, lotions, scrubs, make-up, make-up and more make-up! But what is behind all of this stuff that we rub on our skin, brush on our cheeks and spray on our bodies? This was an eye-opener for me.

Over a month ago, Ian and I were on a short car trip and listening to NPR where we heard about Skin Deep which is a database of all cosmetics, lotions, shampoos… anything that you put on your skin… and how they have been tested to see what sort of risk level is associated with the product. We have now thrown away all of our old shampoos, many lotions, and toothpaste (we actually made our own recently). I encourage you to take a look at the database and see if there are any products that you and your family are using that are possibly dangerous for you. It might just change your perspective on true beauty!

Hope for Creation

Hope for Creation: A Live Simulcast Event: April 21st

We are excited that our family will be participating in this first ever event that will unite churches all over the world to discuss and view a Biblical vision for creation care. This live simulcast is on Wednesday, April 21st at 7:30 pm EST. Watch this video preview of what is to come and then visit The Blessed Earth to find out how you can participate, too!