Sunday, February 18, 2018

We Bought a Farm: An Empty Farm House

I wasn't sure how we would do it but somehow we did it. Our upstairs is totally empty and now, so is the downstairs.

Well, you will notice the one big Turkish desk in this picture above. Actually we plan to put that upstairs in the new room that will eliminate the vaulted ceiling in our house. But it won't fit up the stairs. So the plan is to pull it up over the landing and "build it in" to the room upstairs. This means it can never leave, but we are prepared for that as we don't plan to leave either. And if we do? Well someone will inherit a wonderful desk. 

Our kitchen is still intact and our bedroom is stuffed to the brim. But otherwise, everything has found a home in the garage. Wow has it been an adventure to get to this point. We are blessed with a WWOOFing couple here that have helped carry the farm load while I carried the inside load. 

More pictures and updates to come. 

Stay tuned to see how this house finally becomes our HOME!

Review: Heirloom Audio Productions

Heirloom Audio Productions
I can't believe we were LUCKY enough to get to review WULF THE SAXON from Heirloom Audio Productions. I have reviewed for this amazing production team before. In fact, this is our fifth time getting to listen and share about one of their audio productions. We love them so much that we jump up and down with our hand high in the air anytime an opportunity to listen to one of these comes up!

You can read my past reviews here for Heirloom Audio Productions here.
Wulf the Saxon

This time WULF THE SAXON my husband actually loves these audio productions best of all so he always asks to listen on the way to or from somewhere with the kiddos. And this time was no different. So the "details" about what this production were about will come straight from his mouth below. While I was home on a "Mom Break", my husband took a short day trip with the kids and listened to the production on the way there and back.

The story is about Wulf who is a young thane (landowner) in 1065 England. It follows his adventures and rise to trusted confident to the King of England. There were shipwrecks and battles and arrests and dungeons and escapes and sword fights and injuries -- everything our nine-year-old boys loved -- but there were also more than one romantic story to follow as well which intrigued our younger girls. The story culminates in the Battle of Hastings -- one of the most famous events in Western Civilization/History. 

G.A. Henty was masterfully able to take a seemingly inconsequential character in history, while fictional, and provide a backstory which culminated in this well-known historic event. However, in typical Henty style, he gives an amazingly personal and human story to this historical event. It is definitely a story of faith and devotion and honor and duty. While Wulf is technically a fictional character, he is an excellent example of a role model for our children.

While the audio shares the necessities of battles and war, it doesn't glamorize them. And it shows that events can lead to disfigurement and death even for main characters. (We don't want to ruin anything so we won't say more than that.) It clearly shows the realities of war. And even though they are necessary, they aren't good.

As is the case with history, there are a lot of bad things that happen and this story shares double-crossing, deception, assassination attempts, families turning on each other, and love that cannot be acted upon. And it gave our family a lot of opportunities to talk about these topics in a way that seemed natural because they were questions during the story. They weren't forced conversations. 

G.A. Henty does a great job in taking events that have a lot of negative aspects and bringing out happy endings and finding the good in these seemingly bleak events. Personally, it made me want to go back and read some of the history behind the story to find out more of th people that lead to these events -- contributed to these events.

P.S. Oh, did I mention there are secret passageways too?!

Heirloom Audio Adventure Club
I can't give a review from Heirloom Audio Productions without mentioning the Live the Adventure Club. This club provides subscribers with:
  • Three 2-CD sets shipped to you each year
  • Stream over 500 old-time radio shows
  • Hundreds of fun activities and games
  • Listen and learn read-along program
  • Daily inspiration and devotionals
  • Education treasures and teaching resources
  • Full access to "Live the Adventure Radio"
  • Community forum to exchange ideas and tips
You can find out more about Heirloom Audio Productions by visiting them on the following social media sites:
Wulf the Saxon {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}
 Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Almost three weeks!

At some point, I would like to write much, much more on this topic. But for now I will just say that I have gone almost three weeks with no soda and no junk food!

My whole life, food never owned me. I had no trouble moderating my food and never struggled with my weight.

However, in the last few years, since having a fourth child and moving back to the States, I got fairly addicted to soda and junk food (primarily anything chocolate). I didn't gorge on them. But I would have a soda/junk snack a few times a week at minimum.

There are many reasons that I decided to give these up. My health, the example for my children, and my weight just for starters. However, I also was pretty convinced that the sugar was contributing to my chronic migraines.

I started on a new medicine and gave up the junk, and I have now gone nearly three weeks with a migraine! Amazing.

My goal is to go 66 days without cheating on these items. They say that's how long it takes to break a bad habit. At that point, I hope to be able to have these in moderation -- for special events or celebrations -- but not to reward myself anytime I get in my vehicle.

I tried many times to change my bad habits. I did it once a year ago but not having experience with dieting, I thought I could return to my previous behaviors. Now I understand, and I am trying to practice what I preach to my children. Soda is the one thing my kids have never been permitted to have, and yet I was drinking it nearly daily.

As a physician, John has become more and more convinced of the role that bad sugar is playing in our diets and lifestyle. In fact, there is new research indicating early dementia may be brought on by this terrible sugar addiction we have in our world.

I actually believe I was addicted to this sugar. I craved it and thought about it and hid it and had trouble saying no to it.

I'm excited to work toward my 66 day goal!

Friday, February 16, 2018

The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy

I am, as the rest of you, beyond saddened at the shooting that happened on Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

This shooting resonates with me on a different level because this was basically my hometown growing up. My old AAU coach is the head basketball coach at the school. I have friends who graduated from there. And a former teacher of mine now teaches there. I played sports at this school often. My dad refereed there.

In the coming days and weeks and months, people will try to blame someone or something for this happening. They will try to blame guns or government or a president. They will try to blame the a person or a school or social media.

I don't care what your views are on guns or the government or the president or how you handle social media in your home. They may not be my views, but that is okay. This is America. We can share our opinion, believe our opinion, and vote for our opinion. I believe it's heathy to have different opinions and discuss them and that opinions should be valued.

However, this post is not about any of those things.

This is about sin.

It is about Satan.

In our world today, Christianity is becoming muted. It is still okay to mention God and faith. But Satan and sin? That's a bit extreme don't you think?

But events like this remind me that the Bible is REAL and what God tells us is TRUE.

This attrocity is about the thief coming to "kill and steal and destroy" (John 10:10). The Bible says: "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; be be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

Our world is sinful. And there are many bad things. There are individuals who suffer from mental illness. And I believe Satan and his demons absolutely whisper in people's ear to tell them to commit horrendous acts. I am not saying, of course, that this excuses any behavior. But Satan is evil. And individuals open to listening to Satan are listening to evil.

This may not be an "accepted" thing to say or write. But I believe it is the truth. If Satan is real, then sin exists. And if sin exists, then nothing we physically try to do can stop these types of atrocities.

But here's what we can do.

We can pray. We can have parents groups praying for our schools. We can have parents walking the grounds and gathering together to pray while our kids are at school. We can be involved with young people and try to find every single child a home. Christian adults can open their home to these individuals and teach them about the Lord and eternal life and provide them with hope so that the world is bigger than one bad event.

Eternal life. Salvation. That is what we should be most concerned with. This shooting reminds me that no matter what I do, I cannot protect my children every second of every day. Tomorrow I could lose them. So while teaching them math or making sure they practice piano is important, what is more important is that I teach them about Christ.

"You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (James 4:14).

The most important lesson in all of this is a reminder that sin and Satan are real. But so is Jesus Christ. So is our Heavenly Father. He is real. And He has told us that our life here is just a moment. We of course want to live our life here on Earth as vibrantly and passionately as we can. But we also want to remember what we are really fighting for and not lose focus on ETERNITY.

Other articles that have stood out to me about this topic:

Thursday, February 15, 2018

How a city girl, gone country grieves (and raises cows): Meat my Morbidity

 How a city girl, gone country grieves 
(and raises cows)

 I met Kimberly through farming. She, like me, has been dropped into this life and is learning to love it just like me. She is a Christian, however, our pasts are nothing alike. I've asked her to share her story on my Blog over the next weeks or months or however long it takes. It is filled with much grief and loss but will hopefully make you laugh and smile and grow and grieve along with her.

You will quickly learn I have a morbid sense of humor. Notwithstanding the beef business, which elicits puns from tip to tail (intended), I grew up learning that if I don’t laugh I’ll cry. Emotional barely describes me, though I have mellowed over the years. With the help of menopause, the antithesis AND embodiment of all emotion, I can say I run a full spectrum at any given moment of any given day; and with a sprinkle of twisted humor to top the cake. I’m just a barrel of fun, folks!

That being said, I am also a doer. The kaleidoscope projection of my life experiences proves this. The funny thing is that I didn’t realize it until recently. In fact, recently, while I was collecting my ideas for how to proceed in this saga of Me Etc. it dawned on me like a star explosion: this explains my diverse experiences!

Because I’m a doer doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a thinker. I know I’m not alone when I say I charge forth into (God only knows) a project, cause, issue and find myself hip deep in a drama-scape left unchecked; THEN I think about the consequences and realize that might not have been the best move. Some of my more profound experiences yet to be shared also contribute to my morbid sense of humor and over the years they have allowed me to accept that I’m a doer not a thinker. All of this is coming to fruition in the dawn of my mid-life experience. 


So now I spend the next (God only knows) how many years untangling the messes I have made, or at least coming to terms with them. This involves exercising forgiveness (for myself included if not exclusively), mercy, and re-evaluating my "doer not thinker" to maybe at least a "doer with a thought" training. The old saying "you can’t teach an old dog new tricks" comes to mind here. Beyond that I’m guessing that I’m simply wired this way.  If that’s the case, maybe the world just needs a few crossed wires.

This week has been particularly challenging. I think February’s trick (while January was self-extension into what seemed like 10 weeks) is that there are no weekends. Friday was all of a sudden Monday with no real break in the schedule, and I’m scratching my head on Monday wondering if it was still Friday! This past Monday also brought a whole host of new challenges all by itself, most of which were completely unexpected. 

In my menopausal, slightly deranged state of chaotic emotions, I tried very hard to keep my head up and roll with it, but they just literally never stopped coming. I’ll spare you all the gory details; the day ended with having to complete a difficult chore (which I did expect) and I bedded down with a somewhat exhausted heave. At least I think it was Monday. Friday was three days long…

Having a morbid sense of humor, I can look back over that day and determine where I didn’t laugh when I should have (even though it wasn’t necessarily funny). Laughter is my key to survival in this wild, wicked, whirlwind world. It relieves stress and lets me know that I’m such a small part of greater things. Being able to chuckle about the "un-chuckle-able" allows me to refocus. 

I don’t know about you, but these consistent rainy murky days make life somewhat heavier and darker than it already is. Laughter, even it’s a little morbid, at least eases the tension and sheds a little light into my days. Trust me; I know on the whole there is really nothing funny about a lot of life’s challenges, trials and tragedies. For me, though, it’s a matter of survival in some of my darkest hours. God in His infinite wisdom saw fit to allow me to see things in this manner, to realize that this is JUST THE FLESH, and my spirit is renewed knowing that I am already in a better place, even if my flesh doesn’t think or feel it.

All that being said, this is my "warning shot." Many of my future posts, while I am naturally an encourager, will reveal some of life’s most grievous experiences. Had I not developed this morose humor, I can honestly say I would not be who I have become. I learned a long time ago not to take myself too seriously; to laugh at myself regardless the pain, anguish and turmoil. It sounds completely twisted and surreal, but the truth is if I don’t laugh out loud even when it’s really not humorous, I’d cry. And I already know that God did not make enough tears for me to do that. 

My prayer is that you do find encouragement in whatever I share. I am a firm believer that I was meant to survive my pain to share it with others. I believe that’s true for all of us. When we shift the focus off ourselves into service of others, oftentimes the pain dissipates or becomes less. This is especially true when we realize there are those with far more devastating experiences than our own.

To recapitulate (I love that word!); I’m a doer, not a thinker, with a morbid sense of humor and a past filled with the experiences that reflect this. I am also not the sum of my experiences. I am a human being created specifically for this time and with a passion and purpose not meant for any other human being. 

This is my time, this is my story and this is my encouragement. Until we "meat" again…. (pun intended).

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Review: Stranger No More

Stranger No More by Annahita Parsan with Crag Borlase was simply an incredible read. While it advertises being the story of a "Muslim refugee's story of escape, rescue, and coming to Christ," it was actually her story of intense physical and emotional abuse at the hand of her second husband, the loss of her first (and loving) husband unexpectedly, and what it means to be a refugee that really resonated with me. I've never experienced any of this grief or loss, and it was amazing to read and try to imagine the resiliency of the human spirit.
The battles she faced to live a country that was strangling her both physically and emotionally was incredibly powerful, and I actually devoured this book in just three nights before bed. I stayed up wayyyyy too late, and you will too. It was incredible. 
Annahita shows us up close what it looks like to grow up in an oppressive country under a regime that doesn't allow freedom for anyone, especially women. It details abuse and what that looks like for someone who truly has no way out but death. sent me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

We Bought a Farm: Getting Desperate

We are getting down to the nitty gritty. I am trying to empty out every single room of my house leaving only my room as home base. 

But it is the middle of winter. We have tons of jackets and hats and gloves. Where do you put those? 

Well, I'm plum out of ideas. So I decided that the kids will take a shower and I'll use my bathtub. 

Isn't that what everyone does?