These fall days, the air is crisp, the color is rich, and the beauty is full of God's great creativity. As Mark started cleaning up the homestead after a very brushy start, it revealed all kinds of treasures. We discovered several Shagbark Trees and Wild Persimmon Trees. The ground was just gleaming with orange balls of sweet persimmon fruits that dropped days before. The Shagbark left us the spoils of hundreds of hickory nuts as well. We felt we found nature's treasure, indeed.
The Shagbark tree has a very shaggy looking, rough bark and can grow very tall. It is a native to North America. The leafs come in clusters of five leaves that have a toothed edge. The nut is inside a round hull.
The children have been collecting these wonderful Hickory Nuts in basket loads. They crack the hulls to reveal the delicious nuts by cracking them with a hammer on our brick hearth by the old wood stove that crackles with its dance of flames. There is just something about a wood stove on a cool fall day. It is not only warm, but the scent of wood burning and the sound of crackling is a comfort to my soul. We will soak and roast these wonderful Hickory nuts and make some cakes and tarts with them. What a treat! The Native Americans were said to have discovered these nuts and ground them up and mixed the nut meat with boiling water to make "hickory milk" which was a flour like mixture that was made into cakes. Most people today, prize the Hickory nut for it's sweetness. My Grandfather was part Native American, and he taught his own children to go on their annual Hickory nut treasure hunt in the woods of Wisconsin. My parents later took my brother and I on the same hunt. Now my family is enjoying the bounty of the Shagbark Tree. And what a blessing to have so many growing in our pasture!
The newest two wild fruits we have experienced in Tennessee is the Persimmon and the Muskenine. The first time I tried a persimmon, I made a big mistake. I ate the fruit when it was green! It has a certain reaction in your mouth that makes you feel like you bit into a chunk of bitter tasting wax. It was dreadful! My face began to pucker and all I could think about was "how long will I feel like my mouth is stuck?". Next, I thought I would secretly get the rest of the family to experience this odd sensation. One by one each of the children began to pucker and reach for water until I realized another mistake. Never trick the kids when it comes to trying new food. They will never again trust your advice on what is good to eat. They think twice before they think about trying it. BUT, when I tried a very ripe, brightly colored orange persimmon, it was fantastic. It is even delightfully sweet with no bitter, waxy aftertaste! None of the children would believe me. Oh well, more for me!!!!
They have several pretty large seeds in them, so you have to squish the lovely fruit in your mouth and spit out the seeds. Not too hard! We probably have 4 large persimmon trees out on the edge of the pasture, loaded with fruit that is ripe unto the harvest and free for the taking! You just never know what treasures are hiding in your backyard!
A neighbor gave me a bowl full of Muscadines which look like very large grapes. You eat them much like you would a grape and they are very sweet. I whipped up a batch of jelly from the berries and it was just so good. They simmered all day over the stove and the smell of them was enough to make you drool. That evening, the girls and I made a big batch of biscuits with some vegetable soup. On the fresh biscuits went the butter and the muscadine jelly! Wow! That was so good. I had a pretty good turn out of four, 1/2 pints of jelly! Now I am thinking about making some persimmon jelly!
The views this fall are spectacular. I just can not believe how blessed we are. Every window out the front give a generous view and now that we have the property groomed (a big thanks to my husband and the boys:), you can walk up to the back pasture and see the entire valley below. The colors just gleam richly. We sat up on top our mountainside, drinking in the view, dreaming of a log cabin that we could build there one day. My husband, a man of his craft, working the land, making it yield up its first fruits. We snapped a photo of our view of the homestead below and the valley round about. It does not pale compare to the real thing. If only the camera could be as accurate as the human eye in taking in color. It is amazing how you can appreciate the things God has created.
All in all, life has many treasures that are rich and beautiful. They are sometimes hidden beyond the stubble, but as you sift through and clear out the distractions, you can behold such beauty. And it was always there, you just needed to unveil it, discover it, and drink it in.
This is our 12 acre homestead in the hills of Tennessee where the birds chirp all day long and bees happily buzz. A place where the sun rises and sets over the beautiful hills and cascades its glorious light across our pasture. This must be a dream! It sometimes just seems too good to be true!
We have a couple pastures fenced in our front yard. It is great to have a yard with grass, but why not make your land be fruitful and used to its greatest potential? We have learned that when you want to eat from the bounty of your God given lands, you must use all available space for grazing livestock and growing produce or fruit trees. This was our second year without a garden and we have felt the loss of that. Moving from one homestead to the next both in seasons of producing a garden, has taken it's toll on our eager green thumbs. I bought my first 2 bushels of tomatoes this summer and boy have food prices gone up! I was very reluctant to hand over 2 twenty dollar bills for the tomatoes, but knew that I needed to fill my shelves with tomato product. I generally can about 100 quarts of tomato products each year and I was not about to give in and shop for these items at the grocery market, so I splurged on the tomatoes at top dollar. They were grown in the community here, so I was happy to know that they were heirloom quality. We did end up canning, as a family effort, about 60 quarts of spaghetti sauce. I am so thankful that we were still able to can this year and we are looking forward to preparing our garden for spring. Mark is planning to do a cover crop of kale greens. That way we can nibble off them until it freezes hard and in spring we can till them into the soil for added nutrients. We plan to have some raised beds there and use the no till method after we have established our garden area.
This is the lane we live on that separates our land from the beautiful Cane Creek. We enjoy the pretty views and the slow pace of this gentle country road. It makes for a nice walk or bike ride as well. The kids have been enjoying riding their bikes to the volleyball court which is about a mile down the lane. They have a diving board and rope swing there that keeps the kids busy enough.
This building sets off toward the lane and it is where Mark is now building his wooden drying racks.
Under this carport was a Emu pen. They tore down all the fencing and it will be a great place to store up hay and fire wood. Again, using our property to its fullest potential. Miles was busy all day helping dismantle the pen with his neighbor friend and his dad. What lovely productivity. Mike Pearl was just preaching this morning about laziness. It was such a timely message to all. It reminded us to be even more diligent in shaping our little ones to be hard working people. If a person can learn to be a hard worker, they will be successful in anything they do. Besides that, they will be prosperous because they will not eat the fruit of idleness, they will find something to do to make a living. It is a general principle but their are curve balls that may come and cause us to be in a needful spot. A true worker will fight to get on their feet again because they want to be needed instead of being in need. It is a blessing to be at our fellowship. We get to learn so many wonderful things, sing songs, and fill a need in the world.
Mikey is standing next to our big tree. It is such a neat hollowed out old tree. When we lived here 7 years ago, my children could all fit inside the trunk because they were so little. It is amazing how big they have become in such a small space of time. Hold on to each and every moment while you have time with your little ones because they grow so fast. One minute you are holding a child on your lap, wiping their tears away, and the next minute you are sending them down the road to work a part time job. It is true. Miles is already working a part time job with a concrete working crew. He loves it.
Our precious moo moo, Marilla Moo. She is happy in her new homestead. We finally have a great milking set up. There is, YES, running water in the barn! A sink to wash the milker, and a place to strain the milk, Yes, in the barn, I say! To top it all off, there is a refrigerator out in our barn to get the milk cold in a very timely manner. It is surprising how primitive we have lived and how really nice it is to have POWER! We lived off grid for the past year in an Amish house. It was fun and a huge learning experience, but also it is very nice to have some technology. But wait! We are not working as hard! It won't be long until the butchering season is at hand and canning all our meats again. That will be enough work to keep us in the not so lazy category!
Here are my beautiful Buff Orpington layers. They just started laying some pretty brown eggs. We allow them free range of the homestead. I am sure they are keeping our bug population down which is a good thing in this part of the country. I have been attacked by all kinds of bugs and my legs are covered in red dots. Not so fun nor pretty. But, I feel better that the chickens are at least getting a lot of bugs and that means less bugs bothering our family!
Hay prices are on the climb as well as feed prices. But it really seems to be hitting the groceries stores as well. Everything is getting high. Even paying a high feed price, we still know that having our milk cow is saving us some money. We just reseeded our pastures with some rye and fescue grass. When the fields are better, we should be able feed the cow on the pastures longer. As for now, we need to supplement about a half bail a day for our sweet MOO. So, we are spending about $4 a day. And that is primarily in the colder season only. The remainder of the year she should have plenty of good grass to graze on. If we bought just milk from the store it would be $4. We not only have milk to drink, we have enough to make yogurt which is very pricey (about $4 a quart!!), butter, and cheese when we have plenty milk on hand. Moo has gotten very attached to my husband. It is so funny. He can say "Come Here, come here!" and she comes mooing and running like this:
My kitchen is bustling. There are always things baking in the oven. Aromas of breads, cakes, and cookies fill the air. The girls have been busy helping clean and cook meals. As they get older, they are getting even more capable of running a household. I am working on training them to be help meets someday. Making sure I add "Daddy has been working hard all day, we need to make sure he gets a good meal". It teaches them to look after someone's needs. And then I will say, "Oh, daddy will sure appreciate some cookies, you know how he loves cookies." They find joy in baking for their daddy. Sometimes they even make the cookie in a heart shape for him and tell him how special he is. It is all good practice.
My spices are all lined up in order. Having my home in order is so important to me. I love making a home for each thing so I always know where to find it. I was not always this organized, you can ask my poor husband. When he married me, I was a real slob. I stuffed things all over the place. Sometimes I get very busy and the temptation to "stuff" things comes. I have to resist it and work hard all the time to not allow myself to be disorderly. The longer I have been this organized, the more and more natural it has become to me. To the point that I feel really uncomfortable in disorder. It takes a lot of work to get it to that point, but it is so worth it. One drawer, one closet, at a time. Then anyone can find the time to squeeze a little order in their life.
The living room is always filled with people. We have lots of neighbors and friends, who are here often. I love it. It is so nice to have the gathering room filled with laughter and conversation.
Adventures with Homeschooling!!!!!
We have started a little school in our homeschool. After hearing the inspiring stories of the Harding family (all their kids go to college at age 12), it makes you reevaluate your standards. Right now we are doing high school math, science, literature, history, and writing with Molly, Megan, and Miles. It is so fun! My mornings are very full as I also teach alongside my neighbor. We figure out lessons together, and just makes it FUN! This past week we did ancient sumerian life. The kids had to figure out their trade and create a village. The kids made huts out of reed and little camp fires that they cooked fish on.
The boys were spearing fish with homemade reed spears.
Miles made a nice sharp tip on his. They cut up the fish and traded the girls- fish for eggs. Experience is the best teacher.
Here are the girls in their hut. They had so much fun with this project that they were down there until late in the evening cooking and keeping warm around the fire.
Molly, Megan, and Robin. They really love to experience the history projects together. It is kind of like team work, learning something along the way.
Junior is busy learning how to read. He lost another tooth last week.
Saving the Best for Last!!!! Our Little Golden Treasures!!!!
If you think chicken feet are gross, think again!!!! They are really little golden treasures. I found this out just recently. I never saved the heads or the feet when butchering. I figured it was waste, and it was really gross after all- in my mind it was just plain nasty. A couple weeks ago, I was talking to my friend Terri Taylor who had a couple cooler fulls of chicken feet and heads. She offered these fine gifts to any one brave enough to try. I said "I'll do it!" Terri told me that the feet and heads make the richest broth, EVER! Thinking rich thoughts in my mind, I had to forgo the disgusting smell of chicken poop that was caked on the feet. Yuck! My dear husband said, "This is what you do when you are 'hard up' for food." It did not appeal to him in the least, in fact, he thought it was a total waste of effort. But, I pressed on, knowing that I would get a special rich prize at the end of the disgusting job. Rich broth.
Grandma Evie came to help. She never tried this in all the years she was a homesteader. Evie thought it was kind of gross. Well, you do need to clean the feet. How do you clean these nasty feel? You have to boil them for 5 minutes to sterilize them. It is is kind of like blanching peaches. The skins of the feet that are caked with chicken feces come off. And that was FUN!!! I happen to enjoy peeling things off, so I sat there peeling 80 pounds of chicken feet with Evie. And of course, there were heads. Every once in a while I would find an eyeball, and that was pretty nasty but I did not have nightmares over any of this or anything. It seemed to be a very peaceful type of work. You are just sitting there, peeling feet skin while listening to the crows cawing, and the crickets chirping. I felt like I was in heaven. I know, not most peoples idea of peaceful and wonderful, but to me, it just was. When all the nasty stuff is peeled away, the feet do not seem as gross and you know that your broth will be clean.
I even had a chicken fight with Evie. I could get her with my claws!!! This was all accomplished in our big car port so the mess was not in my house. How lovely!
Next I cut up some onions (left the skins on for added color and flavor), carrots (no need of peeling), bay leaves, celery, pepper corns, and rock salt. Added water from the hose into my big bylers. Then I added the cleaned up chicken feet and heads. Brought it to a rolling boil and let it simmer for 4 hours.
It is such a nice set up to can in the carport. All that steam.
Our very dear friends, Jared and Rebeca Rowe came to help us when the work of straining and filling jars was at hand. Jared and Mark strained out the wonderful smelling broth into a stock pot. It is nice to have men helping.
Look how rich the broth looks!
It was ladled and strained through a sieve.
Rebecca and Evie were filling the jars and putting the lids on.
We shared in the work and in the bounty of the work. In total, we canned 40 quarts of golden goodness. Processed in a water bath for 90 minutes. Rebecca is a young mother and she will have some broth to fix meals for her little family this winter and Grandma Evie will have some as well. We Will fill more shelves with tasty broth. What joy to share with others, the joy of canning! Such sweet fellowship, indeed!
This past week has been a whirlwind. A family from church offered to come with our family to Missouri to help move the Newmans from their rotted trailer. Owen arrived last Friday with his three horses and put them in our pasture here. He looked at his new home and could hardly believe it was theirs!!! Next morning, we all crammed into two vehicles with Owen, all the kids, another family and a young man who wanted to help. It took about 4-5 hours in the very dark early morning to get to the moving truck place to first pick up the truck.
We arrived about 9 am and greeted Evie in front of the trailer. She was so happy to see everyone. Hugs went all around. As she held me tight, she had tears in her eyes, like finally, someone is rescuing them!
Here is their bedroom, which really is not a bedroom because their is no separation from the kitchen, no door. The bed is what you see, just a box spring on top of cement blocks, a piece of plywood and a foam pad to top it. Owen tells us stories to where their was a waterfall that ran down the wall behind the bed and like a river beneath their feet. He would suck up the water with a shop vac and he said he stopped counting after 50 gallons.
This shows the water damage on the ceiling, it is everywhere! Just rotting and molding every where you look.
This is the bathroom. The floor is peeling off and a bucket sits there to collect water, but you can see the water damage is beyond repair.
Another photo of the water damage in just the bathroom.
This is the kitchen area which you can see is very tight. Miss Evie canned thousands of jars here where the counter top will bend if you press on it with your hand. It is very unstable. It makes me appreciate having such a beautiful kitchen whenever I canned my food.
This is just a little picture of all the stuff they have. We did not realize that there was so much tucked away in such a small space. The floors were rotten and just covered in OSB boards. Holes chewed through and mushy spots when you would walk. Every box we picked up was essentially like playing Russian Roulette. Brown recluse spiders were under nearly every box. We even killed a black widow. Owen told us how they would have mice crawl over them during the night and spiders land on them while they were asleep. Can you imagine?
Everyone made an assembly line to move all the many many boxes out of the trailer. The building behind them was there but the Newmans were never allowed to use it. It just stands there empty. They had to use their trailer to store things.
Even the little ones were helping carry boxes. What good little helpers.
Owen is trying to figure out where to go with everything.
My lovely friend and her baby helping with the move. We could not have done it without all their hard work. Their family has some hard workers.
The men stacked two trailers full of tools and old fashioned stuff.
The baby made sure we did not forget Grandma Evie's hand washing machine.
We did not get home until 10 pm so thankfully, we had bought a new bed for the Newmans, set it up nice so they could get a good nights rest in their new home. Sunday morning, they walked over to our home which is right next door and had a nice breakfast together.
After a great meeting at the Cane Creek Church Sunday morning, all the youth and some married men came to our aide. We had two families from the Homestead Community Post that were visiting and offered to help as well. It was such an act of love the way everyone worked as a team to get the truck unloaded and the next day to get boxes unpacked.
Strong men, just hauling box after box until the whole truck was swept clean. They all sat in a circle around Owen as he did some show and tell. He showed them all the things they made like knives, boots, leather clothing, baskets, and many other things. All the boys and men were hoping for lessons. It was really neat to see the interest people had.
Here is Grandma Evie in her beautiful new country kitchen. She already started canning tomatoes that Shalom (Pearl) Brandt gave to us that were from her and Debi's garden over yonder. Evie is so happy. She hardly stops smiling. It is truly like she has been pulled from the rubble. Rescued.
They can happily sit in their home that overlooks the rolling hills, trees, and pastures of Tennessee. Owen is feeling better and better every day with his breathing. He is still having a lot of issues, but now that they are not in that moldy, rotten trailer, they are only going to improve.
They have 3 bedrooms upstairs, 1 downstairs, a bed!!!, furniture!!!, a root cellar!!!, a front porch!!!, this view is of the dining area!!! Everything is coming together, they have light shining into the big windows, hard wood floors, NO spiders!!!!, NO mice!!!!, NO mold!!!!, and they finally have people who love them!
The girls enjoy baking with Grandma Evie. She sure loves the girls. I never see so many smiles and giggles.
The boys are over for a visit, as usual. They are learning how to sharpen knives with rocks from Owen. I am sure they will learn a lot. Thank you all so much for praying, we are so glad that they are safe.
Many, Many, thanks to my dear husband Mark. He nearly broke himself physically, and mentally, trying to pull this all together. Many sleepless nights he spent getting it all to fall into place. He is truly a HERO. He laid his self down to help another brother in his misery. There are not too many people out there that would sacrifice that much to help someone like this. I am so thankful to have such a loving, caring, compassionate husband and father to my children. And many thanks to all the families that also sacrificed vacation time, gas money, and back breaking work to help my husband and Owen get this job to happen. Mark could not have done any of this without the many hands that helped along the way. We also thank you all for joining us in prayer. We know that God was giving us a greater measure of grace this past week. To God be all the glory!!!! Thank you God for your endless outpouring of mercy and provision!
These cookies are so so good. Shoshanna made them with her little Penelope Jane and let me have a taste after taking the photos. I was smitten. They were probably one of the tastiest gluten free, flour free, deliciously healthy treats I have ever tasted. I hope you enjoy them as well. Remember you can get some of these ingredients at the Bulk Herb Store:Bulk Herb Store - Herbs, herbal books, remedies, and articles
I have been having so much fun taking photos for the Bulk Herb Store and putting these together for all of you to enjoy!
The Chia seed is one of the richest plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, an anti-inflammatory agent that is good for healthy skin and involved in the cholesterol metabolism function. It is an excellent source of natural antioxidants, protein, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, zinc, copper, and iron. In fact, Chia contains six times more iron than spinach. Also, it’s gluten free.Chia seeds have been known to:
- increase energy and strength
- promote intestinal regularity
These seeds can be ground and mixed with flour to make breads, but it is not necessary to grind Chia seed as they can be taken whole. They can be added to foods like cereals, juices, broths, salads, and yogurt. Also, Chia seeds will last for years without refrigeration.
We moved to Tennessee last Friday and made our new home on the banks of the infamous Cane Creek. Views are spectacular! The sun is always shining, where the waters flow clear and the wells of sweet, cool springs spill to overflowing. As my joy runs over as the water rolling over the rocks, just flowing and the sound of joy just trickles on with such song. The heat beats on your back and you dive into the water to cool and refresh yourself. We settled into our old homestead (the one from our first Homesteading for Beginners DVD), it brings back such memories of my little ones cutting up the beans on the front porch. The chiggers welcomed us back and we are excited to cut all the tall grasses and make it pretty all over again. A family from the post drove all the way from the deep south to help us pack and move down here and our dear Uncle Smiley. Such sacrifices people made to help us get to our new homestead. I just can't even find the words to express how grateful we are for the help, we could not have done it without the help. Our cow, pony, and calf are enjoying the pastures of tall green grasses. It is like a dream. Seeing old friends and making new friends, it is such a joy to know our family is welcomed with just so much love. They can hardly believe how I am walking. I am still doing great and thanking God for his oil of joy for my cup of mourning. It is like I was sleeping for the past 4 years, caught in a bad dream and I am finally alive again. God is so graciously using his oils to heal my suffering. It is such a blessing. I wonder why God would give me another chance, when so many others have it worse, but he just plain old loves me and cares for those little things, I guess. I am so little, but my God is big. And it is just another chapter to our lives. A new adventure and new chance to grow like the reeds on the banks of the living waters.
We found out that a homestead right next door to ours was for rent, so we rented it for the Newmans. They will be moving in about 2 weeks. It is finally here, the time our family can get them out of their terrible plight.
This farmhouse is 1600 sq feet, 4 acres of lovely green pastures on the side of the creek. They will have a peach tree right out the back door. Grandma Evie can can them to hearts delight. There will be a canning room for her. A nice big front porch to rock on their chairs as they overlook horses grazing and the creek flowing so beautifully.
This is the view they will enjoy for the remainder of their days. Living out their precious lives in peace, in the loving care of their Heavenly Father. They only want to love and be loved, teach and encourage... well, they will have that here. We will love them and care for them each and every hour of their lives. Owen is so happy to teach the boys all about horses and blacksmithing. Wow, what a great adventure. We plan to have some Camps in the future so they can help us teach any of you some things or skills. What fun.
He will have a wood shop and chicken coop. It is like a dream come true for them. And we are so overjoyed. I can see a future of horse back riding boys with Owen and giggling girls making baskets with Evie. Owen keeps saying he is pinching himself over and over just in case he is dreaming! But you see, this is for real and we are just so happy to bless them. Please be praying for us to safely move them in 2 weeks. If there are any of you willing to give a hand, just let us know. It will be an adventure.
It is just a blessing to be able to attend a church again after a season of not going to any church for years. It is so refreshing to hear Mike teach out of the word of God. We had many great hours of fellowship, a meal, kids swimming in the creek, people playing volleyball, and sharing stories. Catching up with others. As the breeze gentle blew on my face, sweeping may hair, I just looked at a picture of community, of loving hands. And I wept inside for the glory and grace, the mercy of God. Who loves us and wants joy for his people. And we surely have joy.
We are planning a move to Tennessee right now. The doors had opened up for us to transfer our rack making business and homestead store there. We will be renting the same house that we filmed our fist Homesteading for Beginners DVD in near the Cane Creek community. We feel like true pilgrims sojourning in a strange land, as it seems we have moved so many times already. The good thing about moving is that you can weed out the extra things that make life more cluttered. It has been a place we prayed about moving to for many years now. We prayed and asked the Lord where we should go and what should be our plan. He opened many doors to us. I received a very nice call from Debi Pearl. Just so happens that one of there photographers, videographers, and graphic designers is moving away when she gets married. They are willing to have me help out even with my limitations and I can do everything from my own home on my own time. Wow. That is an offer that I could not pass up on. Doing what I love, helping a ministry, and all from my chair, so to speak. But now that I am feeling better with my foot, and continuing to improve my mobility, I will even be able to enjoy the work more.
Here is another consideration about Tennessee that I would like to share. It is a much warmer climate. Now, what that means to our family is that I should do much better with my pain in the future. For the past 4 and a half years, every winter I have been laid up with terrible pain due to the cold temperatures. So painful it preventing me from getting out of the chair to cook meals or go places most times. I sort of hibernate for 5-6 months out of the year. It is not fun. But I just accept it for what it is and try not to complain because there are others that are WAY worse off and can never get around. So, my loving husband would like to maximize the amount of time I can feel good and moving to a warmer climate just makes sense to us. As sad as it will be to move away from all our family in Wisconsin, we know it is for the best. They actually want the best for us and understand it is foolish to live somewhere if it makes you worse. Now that I am heading into remission, much more recently, I think the warmer weather will keep the disease of RSD at bay. (FYI: the nerve injury was caused by surgery when a stitch injured my right sciatic nerve causing the trauma and nerve disfunction pain.) That is our prayer. But nevertheless, I will cherish each moment while it lasts and if my pain returns, I will still be thankful for these more productive, less painful days I have been experiencing for the past couple weeks. I am so thankful for the newness of life I am feeling at the moment. It is still a long road to get all the functions of my muscles to work as normal, but I am well on my way. Each day I grow stronger. Each day I am so thankful I get to clean, pack boxes, and do things to help. I have to be very careful because I tend to want to overdo. I still take the oils and vitamins and they seem to keep me feeling great and the pain is still minimal.
Another wonderful aspect for us, and something we have been praying for for a very long time is community! In Cane Creek, there are dozens of families like us that share the same values in homesteading, homeschooling, and following Jesus. Our kids are getting to the age where they need to start finding friends and having a bit more social life. We have been about 7 years without consistent fellowship. This will provide us with some fellowship. We used to go to Mike Pearls church years ago and it was very refreshing.
There are many advantages to moving to Tennessee. We know we can grow our rack business/store there. We can make more great videos about things of interest as well. We feel a peace about moving there and are so thankful for the Lord's mercy. I held on to that the entire time going through all my trials, that God is merciful. He teaches us through our trials, he leads us and when we make any life decisions, he is faithful to teach us through them. No matter where we go or what we do, we take our God with us in our home. He is inseparable to us. No matter what dips come, we always have God to help us get back up and continue fighting the good fight of our faith. We know that life is never perfect nor without challenge. But, we will stand firm in our faith no matter what may come. Please pray for us as we begin packing for our big move. We plan to move this July so that is coming quick. Thanks again for all your prayers and for praying again for this. God bless you all for all you do in this community of HCP. Hopefully, we can have some Homesteading Camps there and some of you can come and visit us, swim in our creek, and enjoy the fellowship. We will continue to post blogs and content even from our new homestead in Tennessee. Hope you will all enjoy the journey with us.
In God's unfailing Mercies,
Pain and Grace, where there is much pain, much more grace doth abound. It is day 7 and I am doing so well. My muscles are so sore because they are finally being used which is a miracle. They are waking up and working hard for the first time in years. Before I could only be up for 5 or 10 minutes before I would have to sit again. Sitting is all I have been mainly doing for the past 4 years, and that was because nerve pain is so terrible. Nerve pain is different than muscle and joint pain. Now I know the difference because I have had the experience of terrible nerve pain and now I have joint and muscle pain. Nerve pain is relentless, is just always hurts no matter what you do, feeling like a nail is being driven into the middle of your bone all the time. If you have muscle pain, you can stop using it and it stops hurting. Amazing! I also think the pain scale is different for most people. My level 5 was like a normal person's 10. And when I had a good day, to me it may have felt like a 0, but to most it would be their 5. Sounds confusing, but when you have chronic pain, it is something you ponder. Now that I have normal pain, I can justify my theory on pain levels. I am just so happy to have sore muscles again!!! It means I am having a more active life.
To be a mother of five, not being able to work hard or do the simple things like picking up around the house, cleaning, laundry, cooking, it makes you feel like you are useless. When I would hear other women complain about how much work they had, I would just wish I could do it for them. Before my accident, January 12, 2009, I was nicknamed "The Bumblebee" because I never sat down, EVER. I was happily buzzing around the homestead. I wouldn't just walk up the steps, I RAN, I jumped and chased, raced the kids, climbed trees, hiked, cooked, cleaned, gardened, milked a cow, took care of 5 little ones, all the while I ran a full time photography business. When you have abilities taken from you, you begin to really appreciate the little things. I will never forget to appreciate the simple, so called mundane, daily activities of living.
The last two days, I cleaned, I did laundry outside with the girls while I filmed it all, I packed a bunch of boxes for our upcoming BIG move to Tennessee, I cooked many meals, and went for a walk. Walking, wow. It is such a blessing to walk again. I know I am probably overdoing it, but please understand why...when you have been trapped in a painful body for years, you just have to explore life again. It is going to be a long road ahead to recovery, but I am so thankful that there is recovery, that there is hope again for me.
I feel that God has been healing me and I am so humbled by it. I almost hate to say it was the vitamins and oils I am taking, even though something changed since I started, because I would never want to take glory away from God in any way. God created the plants in them, but still I want to praise HIM for this whole thing. Every day I feel like I am in a dream, that I will wake up and be in terrible pain again. It is such a gift to have had pain because it taught me how to be joyful in suffering, how to be content with what the Lord gave, appreciate every single blessing I have in life, and learn to put all my faith and trust in the one who gave us life. If I never went through these hard valleys, I do not think I could have understood others. I would have lacked the compassion for others.
3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Even if this does not last, I will never stop thanking God for my window. I have such an amazing opportunity to have another chance to be active. I feel so loved by God that he allowed me to go through so much so that I could learn true thankfulness and joy. Because of my great pain, His grace over me so abounds to overflowing.
1: Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2: But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3: And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4: The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5: Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6: For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. Psalm 1 KJV
As a mother of five, wife to one, I have to continually search these verses out with the world that I was born into. When we choose to follow Christ, we experience a new birth so we must know at all times where our feet are planted as well as where we walk. Let us first examine walking. Walking is a fundamental exercise. We learn to walk at the same time we learn to talk. These skills develop over the same curve as we grow. I do not remember what it was like to learn how to walk but I have five children whom I was blessed enough to watch learn the task. Our first baby, Miles, was so alert and ready to walk at a very early age. I had all the time in the world to teach him things, but I did not have to teach him to walk, babies just naturally do this. We hold them up when they are wobbly and soon they take the first step.
They learn how to sit, eat, talk, stand, and walk all on their own. Even families that have no education, have children that walk. It is just amazing. Four children later, I can say without a doubt, that they have all mastered the walk.
When we read the very first verse of Psalm 1, we see an admonition to NOT walk after the council of the ungodly. What does the word ungodly mean? Let me look it up...
- Irreligious or immoral: "ungodly lives of self-obsession, lust, and pleasure".
- Unreasonably early or inconvenient: "I've been troubled by telephone calls at ungodly hours".
impious - godless - unholy - irreligious
Wow, immoral lives of self-obsession! So much of society today is absorbed in self. I call it self indulgence. People with their cell phones, computers, television, and entertainment have fixed themselves in a position to feed their senses continually. Fast foods at our disposal, clothing we can buy at the store to fill up our closets to bursting over. How, in this present age of technology do we stop from walking in the path of the ungodly? Do we turn our devices off, throw them away? I do not know. I have made a conscious choice to NOT allow my kids to indulge in so much of these things. I chose very early in my life that I did not want to march to the beat of popular opinion or culture. I chose not to allow video games and ipods for the kids. I do not shop at abercrombie and fitch. I do not judge others if they choose to be main stream. I just do not feel comfortable with too much of the world's comforts. Are these indulgences sinful? Not really, but I think that they can be if you do not moderate them. Hollywood has their icons that much of society takes council from. I look at the stars and I say, "I do not want to be them". They can not go anywhere without being noticed, they have no freedom. Often times they have been married to many different people, caught up in drugs, most of them have sold their souls to the devil and all I see is misery-slavery to sin. A cesspool. Many people deny Christ, deny creation, deny God. They forget how much faith it really takes to believe we came from frogs or monkeys.
I do not want to walk after the ungodly. This we can teach, as a mother. WE CAN INSTILL A SPIRIT OF THANKFULNESS IN OUR CHILDREN.
We can choose everyday to be thankful. Thankful is the opposite of ungodly self indulgence. When we are thankful we stop scorning. When our face unfurls, a breath of life flows through us and we are like a tree planted by the rivers of fresh, living water. When we say to our children, "It is time to pull weeds in the garden," on a misty, mosquito infested morning, and our child gives us this look that displays utter disappointment, it is our God given duty to teach them to walk all over again. We tell them, "Be thankful we have a garden, when much of the children in the world starve today." There is always something to be thankful for. You take their little fragile mind, turn it in the proper direction, and you are teaching them how to walk all over again. You give them some perspective and they can learn to walk out to that garden and appreciate the goal you have set as a family working together to put some fresh food on the table. It may not be easy, and it sure comes with a cost but the paybacks are worth every ounce of struggle.
They begin to gain perspective each time they are reminded of what someone else less fortunate has to suffer while they are granted such provision and love. It may take 100 times to train their mind to switch from self indulgent to selfless and thankful.
"God teach me to be more thankful and selfless. Give me wisdom each morning how to be a good example to thankfulness to my children. Help me to walk in your ways. Leaning not unto my own understanding. Let me acknowledge you in all my ways because I know you will direct our paths. When I am weak, please teach me to stand strong for them. Teach me to be ever mindful of training my children how to gain a perspective of how blessed our lives truly are. Most of all, thank you for coming to earth in the flesh, taking my sin upon yourself, shed your precious blood so that I could really LIVE. ~in Jesus Name, Amen."
This is a great sale to kick off the new growing season!!!! You will learn so many back to basic skills with many hours of watching our family work together to put food on the shelf and on the table. If nothing else, these videos are highly entertaining for your children as well as educational. Take advantage of this one month sale.