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!

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!


Sound the flute!
Now it’s mute!
Bird’s delight,
Day and night,
In the dale,
Lark in sky,–
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

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

Little Things

Little Things
by Julia A. Carney

Little drops of water,
Little drains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the beauteous land.

And the little moments,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
Of eternity.

So our little errors
Lead the soul away,
From the paths of virtue
Into sin to stray.

Little deeds of kindness,
Little words of love,
Make our earth an Eden,
Like the heaven above.

Just wanted to share this poem that we are in the process of memorizing for home-school. I love poetry… this one is sweet and speaks truth of our actions and of our hearts. I am praying that the little things that I make effort to do glorify God and spread love to those around me.

What are some little things that you do throughout your day?


2009 was truly a year of growth for our family. Not just physically, with the birth of our fourth baby, Joy Elizabeth, but also we each have grown spiritually. Over the course of the year, God has slowly given us a clearer vision of what He is leading us towards as a family… and now in 2010, things are coming more and more into focus everyday! We are celebrating and overflowing with joy in looking back at the last year, and even the years prior, and seeing how God has slowly, specifically, and lovingly (always lovingly!) been preparing us for what is to come and the dream that has been planted within Ian and I both.

Psalm 128
Happy is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways.
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
Thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.
The Lord bless you from Zion. May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
May you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!

We will be sure to keep you updated as our dream becomes more of a reality! May God bless you greatly in two thousand ten!

Giving Thanks

Wow… I’ve allowed an entire month to go by without posting anything! This month has been very full and busy… we moved furniture from Fort Myers, had a yard sale, rearranged our entire house, celebrated Elliot’s 4th Birthday at Disney World, and hosted Thanksgiving dinner! Between all of this we’ve battled several viruses, an eye ulcer (Carolyn), and Ian was fighting bronchitis most of the month. Whew! Even with all this busyness, we are still ever so thankful for the abundance of blessings in our lives. I would like to list a few here…

-My Lord and Savior, Jesus…
-My husband, Ian
-Our four beautiful children, Jonas, Evelyn, Elliot, Joy Elizabeth
-The privilege of staying home and home schooling our kids
-Our health
-Roof over our heads and all of our needs more than met and provided for
-Grandparents who love and cherish their grandchildren
-A Great Grandmother who adores her great-grandchildren (We love Dee-Dee!)

There are many other items to be thankful for, but one question, no matter how long your list, is who are you thankful to? We found a poem to recite for Thanksgiving Day that answers the question.

We Thank Thee

For mother—love and father–care,
For brothers strong and sisters fair,
For love at home and here each day,
For guidance lest we go astray,
Father in Heaven, we thank Thee.

For this new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For ev’rything His goodness sends,
Father in Heaven, we thank Thee.

For flowers that bloom about our feet,
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet,
For song of bird and hum of bee,
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in Heaven, we thank Thee.

For blue of stream and blue of sky,
For pleasant shade of branches high,
For fragrant air and cooling breeze,
For beauty of the blooming trees,
Father in Heaven, we thank Thee.

A scripture we are memorizing in our home is, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. May we seek to truly rejoice always, pray continuously, and be thankful no matter what our circumstances are… when we do this, our hearts are aligned and we find ourselves with a different perspective regardless of the turmoil or situation we are in. Our Father in Heaven is so good, and I thank HIM!

The Father and His Sons

The Father and His Sons by Aesop

A Father had a family of sons who were perpetually quarreling among themselves. When he failed to heal their disputes by his exhortations, he determined to give them a practical illustration of the evils of disunion; and for this purpose he one day told them to bring him a bundle of sticks. When they had done so, he placed the bundle into the hands of each of them in succession, and ordered them to break it in pieces. They tried with all their strength, and were not able to do it. He next opened the bundle, took the sticks separately, one by one, and again put them into his sons’ hands, upon which they broke them easily. He then addressed them in these words: “My sons, if you are of one mind, and unite to assist each other, you will be as this bundle of sticks, uninjured by all the attempts of your enemies; but if you are divided among yourselves, you will be broken as easily as these sticks.

We read this fable today with our children… what a testimony and truth this is for a family and for the body of Christ! I thank God for how He can use such authors and storytellers to speak truth into our lives. God is so good!

Madam How and Lady Why

If your heart be pure and sober, gentle and truthful, then
Lady Why speaks to you without words, and tells
you things which Madam How and all her pupils, the
men of science, can never tell. When you lie, it may
be, on a painful sick-bed, but with your mother’s
hand in yours; when you sit by her, looking up into
her loving eyes; when you gaze out towards the setting
sun, and fancy golden capes and islands in the
clouds, and seas and lakes in the blue sky, and the infinite
rest and peace of the far west sends rest and
peace into your young heart, till you sit silent and
happy, you know not why; when sweet music fills
your heart with noble and tender instincts which
need no thoughts or words; ay, even when you
watch the raging thunder-storm, and feel it to be, in
spite of its great awfulness, so beautiful that you
cannot turn your eyes away: at such times as these
Lady Why is speaking to your soul of souls, and saying,
“My child, this world is a new place, and strange,
and often terrible: but be not afraid. All will come
right at last. Rest will conquer Restlessness; Faith will
conquer Fear; Order will conquer Disorder; Health
will conquer Sickness; Joy will conquer Sorrow;
Pleasure will conquer Pain; Life will conquer Death;
Right will conquer Wrong. All will be well at last.
Keep your soul and body pure, humble, busy,
pious—in one word, be good: and ere you die, or after
you die, you may have some glimpse of Me, the Everlasting
Why: and hear with the ears, not of your
body but of your spirit, men and all rational beings,
plants and animals, ay, the very stones beneath your
feet, the clouds above your head, the planets and the
suns away in farthest space, singing eternally,
“ ‘Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory
and honour and power, for Thou hast created all
things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.’ ”
-Charles Kingsley in his book, Madam How and Lady Why


What is twaddle? As defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary, twaddle is: 1 a: silly idle talk : drivel b: something insignificant or worthless: nonsense. This is not a very common word you hear… yet we see so much of this in our everyday life. Whether in person, on TV, the computer or in books, twaddle is filling our American culture with it’s “nonsense”. As a Charlotte Mason home school mom, we have done our best to keep our home twaddle free. This can be difficult, but well worth the filtering and double checking as we make decisions as to what we place before our eyes and minds. An excellent blog post about twaddle that is informative and has further history and details on Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of twaddle can be read here. May we as parents be challenged to consider what we view or read so that our minds our fed with living books and ideas. Let us remember to treasure the values that God instructs through His Holy Word.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. -Philippians 4:8

Down Cast

Gloomy morning and slow soul moving… why do I have these moments (sometimes days) of blah? I realize that I am a tad bit hormonal considering that I’m 28 weeks pregnant and feeling large and tired… but I miss the moments of overwhelming joy and peace that God can bring. Between children yelling and being whiny and loud, I long for time alone… in quiet… in peace… in absolute solitude. It is difficult to have time away from 3 children that I am home schooling, feeding, and am just with them all day long! I rise early most days, yet our youngest seems to have a sensor that goes off whenever anyone else is awake and he is up… and ready for his day to begin! Oh how I wish for a retreat… a time to recreate with the Lord and spend time outdoors enjoying Him and listening for His voice… reading His Word and soaking up any treasures He presents to me.

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.
-Psalm 42:11

The interesting part of this scripture is how the author is essentially asking his soul, “What’s wrong with you?” And his response is something he does not necessarily feel, but knows it is the remedy for the achy, down cast soul: Hope in God. What is Hope? Hope is a verb… an action. Something we do. In digging deeper, the Hebrew root word for hope is yachal which means to wait, hope, expect. Other English words used in the KJV are: hope, wait, tarry, trust, variant, stayed. So, in other words, Wait in God, Expect in God, Trust in God, Stay in God. All of these apply… and when we do these actions, we will praise Him, who is our help.

So what brings us to hope in God? For school, we are all reading through the book of Romans right now. We started last week after we had finished the book of Acts and are now in Chapter 6. On Monday, we read Romans 5:1-5.

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Our sufferings or our down cast soul can lead us to hope… but the in between steps seem to be vital for the ultimate goal of hope. Endurance and Character are how the NRSV word it… check out the King James Version for verses 3 through 4:

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope…

Woah… different words that take on a whole new meaning for “Endurance” and “Character.” So through the slow, down cast soul struggles, I must endure, be patient and also learn from the experience and allow God to shape my character… and most of all, I need to hope in the Lord. Wait on Him. Trust Him. He is our Hope!

By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas.
-Psalm 65:5