Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Adventures In The Wilderness!

When we decided to move to the country, we knew there would be changes.....I just didn't know how many I would make! I had the vision of the quaint home in the country, with pretty flowers and gardens. A large dog on the porch, kittens in the barn, chickens in the barnyard, perhaps goats or sheep in the fields. Doesn't that sound like the perfect picture of country living?!

Well's all imaginary! Don't get me wrong, we love the country. We love our country home and all the critters that live here! It has just been a journey of hilarity mixed with tears!
We moved here in the midst of a drought. It was 107 degrees the day we moved in. The ground was a lovely shade of parched gray! If we could have sold poison ivy from our woods, we would be millionaires! Instead we were hot and itchy!

Upon arrival, we got the house liveable. Then we took a breather until the spring of 2007. We knew if we didn't get a head start on the poison ivy, we were going to be in trouble. Goats seemed to be the answer. Interestingly enough, they think the stuff is candy! To have goats, you have to have a fence. To have goats, you have to have a guardian livestock dog, unless you want to feed your goats to other wildlife. To have a dog to guard the goats, you have to have fencing.

Ahh fencing. If you have ever fenced, you know it's not on your bucket list of things to do! After pounding in a few hundred posts (exaggeration) we decided to have the fence put up. That was another journey of fun. There was a very sweet man that we hired to come and fence. I noticed that my boys were lined up watching him work with very serious expressions. No words, no pushing, just very serious expressions. Finally I asked them what they were doing.

Jonathan: Shhhh! We are waiting for him to die. Me: Whatttt!!!! Ben: Shhh! He is going to die soon! Daniel: Look mom, he's got one of those smoke sticks in his mouth! Me: Whattt!!!! Ben: You said if we smoke cigarettes we would die. This man has smoked so many today, we know it's going to be soon! Me: Hysterical laughter. Boys, you must not sit here and wait for this man to die. Ben: No mom, we aren't, we have shared the gospel with him and are waiting for him to make a decision!

Later I spoke with the man about his audience. He told me we have very interesting children. I told him why they were so interesting! He laughed so hard and said that they had continued to ask him if he knew where he was going to go when he died!

Well, the fence did get put up without any deaths! Then came the dog! We arrived home with the dog before the fence man had even left. He instructed me to not get the dog out of the van until I had taken it to the vet for shots and a checkup. You see, this was a "free" dog. More on "free" another time. After parting with more money at the vet, we took our 50 pound flee and tick infested puppy home.

Fence up-check, Guardian dog-check! Now for those sweet little goats!!!!! We fenced a special little circle for the goats. We didn't have a barn, so they were going to use large dog crates with tarps over them for temporary shelter. (two years)

We had strict instructions to not allow them to get "bloated" or they would die! I was so afraid for them to eat too much, that we watched them like hawks on road-kill! They finally acclimated to our woods and true as told, they ate the poison ivy! They ate the honey suckle, they ate the grass, they ate the weeds and they loved roses!

One thing they did not like was to stay put! They loved our front porch! Do you know what it's like to look out your windows and see a heard of goats laying in the heat of the day on your front porch!!! They also left droppings on my front porch! My front porch with the pretty white furniture and the pretty hanging baskets. My front porch with the pretty roses planted in my flower beds! Did you know that goats can wiggle under a three inch hole in the fence? With that picture in mind, let's leave the goats on the front porch and move on to the sweet little kittens!

Our "first" kittens were named "Sweetie" and "Lou". They were so sweet. Little black kittens from a friends farm. They were going to be our mousers and snakers! If there is one thing I hate, it's snakes! A snake welcomed me the first night in our home. I found it in the basement. Fortunately, it was stuck on one of those sticky traps! It was a copperhead!

Little Sweetie and Lou were going to love us and keep us safe. We just forgot one important fact....kitty's like to travel. They like to go across the road. Okay, so now we were looking for more cats. I decided we would name our next cat "Hope"...Hope you live! She did! So did her babies and her babies after that!

We had lots of babies. The babies had babies! We were becoming a cat farm! I mean we were thriving!

This little saga is going to have to be continued tomorrow. Thanks for going on my journey! Lest you think it has all been hard, don't. We have had a wonderful journey. Can you guess what is our next addition to this little farm?

Hilltop Blessings!

Friday, May 21, 2010


Recently, I was all distressed over a situation with another mother. Whenever we as moms do something different than another, you know the assault on the brain! We all want to be the best mother we can possibly be and don't care to be challenged in our decisions. We would walk over red-hot coals for our husbands and children.

I always have to come back to that "center" place in my brain . God loves me. He chose my children for me. He knows who they will be and what they will need. In my own incompleteness, I'm the best mom for my children. The way the Lord has directed me to parent, is the best way to parent the children He has entrusted to me.

It's so easy to get distracted when you see another family doing something different from the values your family shares. I asked myself why the situation bothered me so much and I'm still not sure why it did, but the bottom line is it did.

I felt anger, frustration and almost dislike for this other person. Then the Godometer went off. I wasn't walking in love, nor was I walking in the Spirit of who I am in Christ. Perhaps this mother needs grace and love from me. I don't have to change my family values to love and encourage this other woman and her family. She may be frustrated with me or even verbally share her feelings, but I can remain loving and kind, because I'm secure in my position in Christ! Whew! That's tough, but it's really where the Lord wants us. We are to be secure in Him and not what others think of us!

I'm not responsible for how another person perceives me or how they feel about a decision I make for my children. If my husband and I are in agreement with what we do, then that is the safe center place for our family. I'm also not to feel that I am superior to anyone regarding the choices we make for our family!

As I realized these truths, the pressure and weights disappeared! I don't have to worry about another families motives or values or choices, it's not my place! How freeing is that?! Isn't God good to give us comfort in the midst of pressure?

As we make decisions for our family that aren't always popular, it teaches our children to do likewise. It teaches them to follow the inner leading of the Holy Spirit. Isn't that what we really want? Isn't our goal to raise men and women who love God and follow after Him with a whole heart?

I've been so thankful for God to give me ideas to show our children how He intimately cares for us on a personal level. I know that the more "real" Jesus is to our children, the easier it will be to follow after Him in the tight places further down the road in their walk with Him.

Sometimes our path as a daughter of God, takes us through difficult places. They are rugged, dirty, uncomfortable and sometimes even bloody, but through it all, we are helped by the Father who loves us with an unfailing love. I pray that today as you seek the will of God for your family that you feel His love, mercy, grace and peace. I pray that you would be encouraged and strengthened in your walk with Him today. We are to run this race with endurance. Let's not give up. Let's do what Christ has called us to do with our families.

I'll leave you with these verses from Ephesians 3:16-20.

" I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge -that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen"

Hilltop blessings!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mentoring Women

I owe a lot of who I am to the incredible women that mentored me and encouraged me as a young woman. There were women who loved on me, women who redirected me, women who encouraged me to be more...., women who inspired me. Get the picture? God poured out incredible wisdom through these women into my life. It made me who I am today.

Just recently, I reconnected with one of those ladies on Facebook. It meant the world to me. I was so glad to find her and let her know I was well! These ladies in essence became mother's to me. As a result of this amazing teaching and training, I have a desire for women to know they are precious to the Lord and for them to be all they can be for the Lord and their families.

You all know the verses in Titus 2, but let's just refresh ourselves a moment.
Titus 2:3-5
"Bid the older women similarly to be reverent and devout in their deportment as becomes those engaged in sacred service, not slanderers or slaves to drink. They are to give good counsel and be teachers of what is right and noble. So that they will wisely train the young women to be sane and sober of mind (temperate, disciplined) and to love their husbands and their children, To be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers, good-natured (kind-hearted) adapting and subordinating themselves to their husbands, that the word of God may not be exposed to reproach (blasphemed or discredited).

I'm so thankful that there were women who heeded these verses and took them to heart. I want to encourage you today to be that Titus 2 lady. Are there younger women around you that need to be loved on and encouraged, maybe even gently nudged? I pray that you would even reach out to the young woman that is a bit "messy".

I was pretty messy and it took a lot of women to help me receive the healing I needed to be the woman I am today. I pray that as the Lord lays one of these ladies on your heart, you would wrap your arms around her and encourage her today!

If you are the young woman that needs some mentoring, find that lady that you admire and find out a need she has and meet it. Does she need some help with childcare, yard work or house work? If you know you need what she has, lighten her load so she can help you. If you are too beaten down to help, than just take that first step and ask for some assistance.

The Father of all mercies is so good to me that I can't even end this post without saying Thank You Carla, Thank You Susan, Thank You Nancy, Thank You Debi, Thank You Janice, Thank You Marilyn and the many others that have so graciously poured themselves out for me. I'm a vessel that can be poured out for others because each of you poured yourselves out for me. I love each of you and can't say thank you enough! Blessings to you.

Okay, so it's sort of sappy today, but look out there and see who you can bless and encourage today. It can change the course of a person's entire life! It did for me!

Hilltop Blessings,

Monday, May 10, 2010

Enjoying The Moment!

I feel like the past week flew by so fast! I was so busy and at the same time dealing with an injury that was dragging me down! I just hate it when I want to get so many things done, but can't!

When the Lord slows me down, I'm reminded of the essential things! My husband, my family, my home and just the "real living" of life. Each step I took last week, was painfully obvious! In the midst of the pain, I realized that every choice I make counts! It counts for spiritually nourishing my family. It counts for blessings them and training my children. I didn't spend much time on the computer, and I was amazed at home much can be done!

There was even an added sense of peace in our home. I'm sure it was because my children had more of "me". This week, I'm feeling so much better, and I'm going to purpose to make each moment continue to count. I pray that I would look at what the Lord has given me and count it all joy!

One of the things I did last week was to get a new book about managing my metabolism. I was so grateful for the Lord to put words and "how-to's" in my hand. Everything I read, was what had been on my heart to do! This just had recipes!

I'm going to be using a lot of new recipes this week and I'll share them as I go. I know that the more energy I need, the better the fuel must be for my body. Sometimes when I get bogged down, I realize that the fuel I've been feeding my body is low quality!

I'm starting to plan what materials I will be using next year for school. I can hardly wait! We are going to be using the Mystery of History. I think it will be fun and packed with great information. My boys make teaching them a lot of fun.

Over the weekend, I made the Laundry Soap from Homestead Revival's blog. Instead of it being a big tub of goo, it's a powdered soap. It was so easy to make and certainly cost effective. If you've never made laundry soap before, try it just for fun. It's very inexpensive and goes a long way.

I'll leave you with one of the recipes I'm going to try this week and you make it and we can compare notes!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 T baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1 egg
zest of 1 orange
1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup 70% cocoa chocolate chips

Spray a muffin pan with olive oil or line with paper liners. Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Whisk together the milk, honey, olive oil, egg, and orange zest. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and stir just until moistened. Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips.

Fill mixture into muffin pan and place in oven that is preheated to 425. Once in the oven lower temperature to 400. Bake until done about 18-20 minutes. Serve warm.

In my reading of Proverbs 10 this morning, I once again was reminded of verses 12-13. I pray that you have a blessed week and enjoy your family moment by moment!

Proverbs 10:11-13 (amplified)
"The mouth of the [uncompromisingly] righteous man is a well of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. Hatred stirs up contentions, but love covers all transgressions. On the lips of him who has discernment skillful and godly , Wisdom is found, but discipline and the rod are for the back of him who is without sense and understanding."

A moment forever locked in time. Texas Bluebonnets and my children!

Hilltop Blessings,

Monday, May 3, 2010

He Is New Every Morning!

I went out this morning and took some pictures of my flowers. I love flowers. They remind me of God's faithfulness. Sometimes we have to wait a long time to see the promises of God unfold. He is faithful. When I plant flowers, some give me instant gratification and others take some time.

Even the flowers that give me beautiful color and a bold display all summer long, need pruning and water. I realize that with my own life, God desires for me to lay hold of a destiny. It isn't just given to me on a silver platter. Some things are easier than others, but some things are really hard. Some things only come with consistent work, prayer and more work and prayer! Ever had some of those things in your life?

Recently, I realized that some of the things that I want so badly have sadly been put on a back burner. They were just too hard. I just couldn't keep on day after day. Then the Lord allowed me to see how important they were. How? Pain... Yes pain, there is always pain when we lay aside the very things that God wants us to push through. Push past the "I don't want to do that", push past the "I don't have time..." even push past the "It's to hard...." Ever feel that way?

Paul said it best in Philippians 3:12b-14
"..but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward"

Early in my walk with the Lord, someone told me that "to press" meant to go forward with determined and energetic effort without ceasing. Now that is really pressing! Today I've determined to press on! To go forward with God and all that He has for me. I've determined to do those things that I don't want to do and be grateful that God has given me the ability to do them!

I'm looking for ways to be thankful! That's an easy one! God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing! He has provided such a rich bounty of grace to overcome anything that get's in our way! I'm going to forget the mistakes in the past! I'm not going to listen to the voices that scream FAILURE. They are lies anyway! We just have to look up! I'm going to do that today.

He is a good and faithful God. His mercy's are new every morning! He loves us and He will see us through the good and the bad. I'm not just trying to post a little bit of fluff, but real hard living and walking with God. It's tough sometimes! God is even tougher! He will uphold us with His right hand.

Sister I encourage you in the Lord this morning! I pray that the blessings of God would overtake you and that you would see that He is faithful and that you are loved! Have a wonderful Monday!

Hilltop Blessings,