Mary- Did You Know

joy our redeemer lives

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During the Christmas season when we focus on celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, I can’t help but think of the Crucifixion as well. They are inseparable, without either one there would be no salvation and redemption.

Growing up in church I was told many times how God gave His Only Son. He did, this is truth but I always thought that Mary kind of got left out- Jesus was her son, as well.

For many years I pondered on Mary, what it must have been like for her. The joy of bringing the Son of God into this world. The bitter sadness of bringing the Son of God into this world. Being the Jewish girl that she was, she knew the prophecies, she knew what lay ahead, she knew the sacrifices she and Joseph had already made to get this baby here. This was her son, too. She loved him as any mama loves her baby. Given all of that, I always wondered why she didn’t get more credit. She gave her son as well as God.

God gave his Only son, Mary of course had more children, but did that really mean it was no big deal that she gave Jesus? Then it came to me- when all of the events of Jesus’ death began to happen and as she stood there and watched him die on the cross- as a human, she could do nothing. It was out of her control. She certainly sacrificed, felt the grief, and was probably so angry she could have spit nails, but all said and done she had no control. Jesus was a grown man and he made his choice to follow God’s path and set us all free from eternal death and restore us to our Creator.

Now God, on the other hand, He was Almighty God- Commander of the Angel Armies.  At one word Angels could have swooped in and took Jesus home to Heaven

He could have stopped the pain with a thought. He could have said “enough” and Jesus’ and His own suffering would have been over.

As God, he was in control and he had the power to stop the whole horrible day.

But, He did not.

He gave his only son.

How much He must  love me and you. He could have stopped his child’s suffering, but He saw the big picture- our redemption- and He restrained himself and let Jesus die. What a sacrifice, what hurt. God felt the same pain, grief, and anger as Mary. We are made in His image, we have feelings and emotions -so does He.  But He endured the pain and hurt so that you and I could be restored, forgiven, and set free.

Could it be that the pain of seeing all of us lost to the evil one and separated from our heavenly father was more painful than watching his only son- the perfect one- die on the cross?  He wants a relationship with us that bad…  Mind boggling that the creator of the universe, the Alpha & Omega likes me that much.  I don’t know about you- but that motivates me to live better and love more.

God gave his only son…. So Celebrate this Christmas- Our Redeemer Lives!

Christmas Parade

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Blessed Are The Problem Solvers

Nothing wears me out faster than someone who constantly talks about a problem and then finds flaws with every option presented to fix said problem.  I have no patience for this- at all.  So often, we can find ourselves doing this to our spouse.  We voice a problem and then shoot down every idea or solution presented by the other side.

Eventually this evolves into an adversarial type of relationship and this will spell doom for a marriage.  Perhaps the couple does stay together until death do us part, but there is a lot more to a healthy marriage than just living under the same roof.

If we are to live together in peace- we must choose peace.

We must choose to be problem solvers.

Solving problems brings peace.

Instead of looking at your husband as someone to be conquered, bested, and put in his place- you need to look at him as your ally in this game of life.  Life brings many battles and many challenges- we need an ally.  This doesn’t happen over-night, but if you will choose to see your spouse as your ally and choose the path of peace instead of quarreling and bickering- your home will be a much happier place.

 

Mathew 5:9

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they should be called the sons of God.

 

eirénopoios: peacemaking, a peacemaker

Original Word: εἰρηνοποιός, όν
Part of Speech: Adjective
Transliteration: eirénopoios
Phonetic Spelling: (i-ray-nop-oy-os’)
Short Definition: pacific, loving peace, a peace-maker
Definition: pacific, loving peace, a peace-maker.

 

So, when a problem presents itself- don’t choose sides.  Choose to work with your spouse and find a solution that is good for all involved.  Then you will be peace makers and others looking on will know there is a God when they see peace reigning in your home.

 

Which One Will You Be?

roses and herbsProverbs 14:1

The wise woman builds her house,

    but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

 

This has been a scripture that has been woven into my mind for many years.  I’ll admit that in the beginning of my marriage I was very foolish.  I talked before I thought, I got angry too fast and I held on to things that were not worth my time.  Then I discovered the truth-

The difference between a wise woman and a foolish woman is that the wise woman knows what to hold on to and what to let go of.

Hello, Again & Here Is To A Healthy New Year

Even in the cold, my girls have been working hard.

Even in the cold, my girls have been working hard.

Much has been going on behind the scenes in this first month of 2014, new projects are on the horizon and old ones have been refined.  The cold has kept us on our toes as the time to start our seedlings is upon us.  Every time I feel like whining about the weather I just read posts of my blogger friends in Illinois and New England and then my perspective returns- 20 below zero is just crazy talk!

My blog has been on my mind as I have been thinking of what my first post of the new year would be.  One of my January activities each year is to clean out every closet and drawer weeding out what is useless, broken, and simply not used.  This year I even took on all my files.  I like to save stuff- recipes, decorating ideas, travel bits- kind of like a hard copy of pinterest.  As I was sorting through a file on health I ran across the notes I took at a women’t conference held at my church.  Dr. Tina Ingram, my long time friend and chiropractor, spoke on health and gave some very good insights.  I decided to post those here today.  I hope that each person wants to something to improve their health this year.  Dr. Tina, as we all call her, is special to me for another reason- she is the one who started me down the path of natural healing and herbs.  That journey began when she treated my daughter Savannah when she was 3, but that story is for another day.

Here is what she had to say:

1. Health is a journey not a destination and we must be proactive

2. We MUST deal with stress

  • Proverbs 17:22- A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
  • Proverbs 12:25- Anxiety weighs the heart down, but a kind word cheers it up.
  • Philippians 4:8- Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admireable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.
  • Proverbs 15:13- A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.

3. Exercise is essential- but it doesn’t have to be hard cardio at the gym.  Any form of daily walking, yoga, or cycling is good.

  • Exercise regulates blood pressure
  • Exercise decreases depression
  • Exercise increases regularity (digestive)
  • Exercise stabilizes blood sugar
  • Exercise lowers osteoporosis
  • Exercise lowers stress

4. Rest is another essential element to health

  • You need 6-8 hours of sleep per night.

 

These are just 3 things that can make a huge difference in our health.  I used to be over-whelmed by all the information on health, how to be health, what I should do & what I shouldn’t.  Finally, I decided to stop listening to all of the talk and work on just these three things.  You will see a huge change in your body and your mind if you deal with stress- not just swallow it but find a way to let it go, get enough sleep, and simply walk daily.  As far as walking or running goes, I only do about a mile each day and I do it outside, not at a gym.  Gyms don’t relax me, the make me feel stressed.  I need the out of doors to relax me and enable me to turn lose of stress.  I get tickled at these gals who like to post how many miles they run.  I hate to run and I am getting great results with just a little ol’ mile.  If the weather is bad I put in a yoga DVD (for beginners- I have never stood on my head and would not even attempt it) and that is a great workout and stress reducer.  In short, all it takes is about 30 minutes to change your life.

Just pick one and have a great 2014

The Winter Solstice, The Longest Night

The longest night has just passed.

Did you feel it?

We did, we kept noticing the time, thinking that it should be much later than it was in reality.  The evening wore on with cookies baking, gift baskets being stuffed, and herbed salts, salamoia bolognese, being prepared.  It was a quiet night, the rain that had poured from the heavens all the previous night and this day ceased just long enough for a few rays of sunshine to grace the landscapes before the dark crept over us.  It was not a darkness to be feared, but one that encouraged rest.

From here on out, the days will gradually grow longer and eventually bringing warmth but definitely bringing life refreshed.  Below the ground, the Narcissus bulbs are beginning to stir- soon little green spears will pierce the ground followed by buds that will one day show us their beautiful white and yellow faces.  Those are some of my favorite flowers because they tell me, “Cheer Up, spring is just around the corner.”

I always find parallels to life in my garden.  In life, we will walk through the longest nights, but spring will come.

“For his anger endures but for a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

 

daffodil

 

Simple Beauty- Christmas Decorating on the Farm

I love Christmas time- I have a  desire to bake, cook, clean, decorate, and wrap gifts tied up with lots of ribbon that sparkles that I am just unable to suppress.  I do get some help from the kids, but mostly its just me and I love it.  Tony enjoys my creations, especially those emerging from the kitchen, but is also content to sit and watch.  Many wives gripe about their husbands not being involved but I don’t see it that way.  He loves what I do but its not his thing to decorate- plus, if he got involved and started having opinions then I would not get to do it my way uncontested.  I like doing things my way.  Therefore, we have a nice balance, I drape greenery and lights on everything that will stand still and then when the sun sets and our home is shimmers, we sit on the couch and he tells me, “It’s beautiful, baby.”  That makes my heart happy and we avoid silly fights.

So, as Thanksgiving came and went the bins of decorations came out.  I have collected many items over the years that I love.  I usually pick a few things up each year after Christmas has passed.  But the things I love most are vintage junk.  The junk ( more on the great junk in another post) plus Christmas photographs of my children when they were little make up the most treasured of our Christmas decor.  For a few weeks, I am once again surrounded by their little cherub faces and toothless smiles.  These framed photos are stored in the bins with the other lights and ornaments.  As the bins are emptied of the Christmas contents, I pack away all of my usual decor into the empty bins- giving me a clean slate on which to create.

Decorating for Christmas can get expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.  Simple white lights mixed with fresh greenery is beautiful and elegant.  Add in some cheap dollar store bead garland and you have a classy display.  The greenery can be obtained by a county drive with a pair of lopping shears.

Cheyenne and the greenery

Vintage ChritmasWhite lights and greenery mixed with a vintage tool box, glittered Merry Christmas and a ceramic Santa painted by my very talented Aunt.

Coca Cola Christmas TreeThe only artificial tree that I have in my house, this white tree with white lights holds all my Coca Cola ornaments that I have been collecting for over a decade now.  The Coca Cola Christmas village was given to me by my awesome mother-in-law.

China HutchThis china hutch has a mixture of tool, white lights and glittered Pine Cones– the pine cones are a really fun project to do with the kids.  We made our pine cones about 5 years ago.  Each year I store them in large zip lock bags and they have lasted really well.

Merry & BrightThis in an antique window that I painted an ornament on.  The ornament is patterned after my favorite Merry Brite ornaments that hung on my parents tree for years.  I love those old ornaments.  As you can see, I need to fix the white stripes.  I stored this window in the storage room in our barn, this summer the cow got inside and licked off a lot of the paint.  I repainted the dots, but wouldn’t you know it I am out of white paint.

vintage santaSince, before I was born ( I am 41) this Santa covered my great-grandmother’s front door.  After she died, my grandmother moved into her house, so I have spent every Christmas Eve in that home and so have my children.  One day, I was over at Grandmother’s house and she was going to throw out this Santa.  I said, “I will take that, thank you very much.”  Now, it has hung in my home for over a decade.  My children  do not remember a year when that wasn’t apart of our house.

I love making memories.  I look at is as my privilege to be the keeper of those memories as well as the creator of memories for my family.  My Christmas decor is filled with memories of the people I have loved, many of them are no longer with me.  In this way, they live on.  In years to come, I hope nieces and nephews, grand children and children will pull something out of a box or smell are familiar aroma from the kitchen and remember me fondly.

 

 

 

 

 

Mary, Did You Know?

During the Christmas season when we focus on celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, I can’t help but think of the Crucifixion as well. They are inseparable, without either one there would be no salvation and redemption.

For many years I pondered on Mary, what it must have been like for her. The joy of bringing the Son of God into this world. The bitter sadness of bringing the Son of God into this world. Being the Jewish girl that she was, she knew the prophecies, she knew what lay ahead, she knew the sacrifices she and Joseph had already made to get this baby here. This was her son, too. She loved him as any mama loves her baby. Given all of that, I always wondered why she didn’t get more credit. She gave her son as well as God.

God gave his Only son, Mary of course had more children, but did that really mean it was no big deal that she gave Jesus? Then it came to me- when all of the events of Jesus’ death began to happen and as she stood there and watched him die on the cross- as a human, she could do nothing. It was out of her control. She certainly sacrificed, felt the grief, and was probably so angry she could have spit nails, but all said and done she had no control. Jesus was a grown man and he made his choice to follow God’s path and set us all free from eternal death and restore us to our Creator.

Now God, on the other hand, He was Almighty God- which means Commander of the Angel Armies. He could have stopped the pain with a thought. He could have said “enough” and Jesus’ and His own suffering would have been over. As God, he was in control and he had the power. But, He did not. He gave his only son. How much He must  love me and you. He could have stopped his child’s suffering, but He saw the big picture- our redemption- and He restrained himself and let Jesus die. What a sacrifice, what hurt. God felt the same pain, grief, and anger as Mary. We are made in His image, we have feelings and emotions -so does He.  But He endured the pain and hurt so that you and I could be restored, forgiven, and set free.

Could it be that the pain of seeing all of us lost to the evil one and separated from our heavenly father was more painful than watching his only son- the perfect one- die on the cross?  He wants a relationship with us that bad…  Mind boggling that the creator of the universe, the Alpha & Omega likes me that much.  I don’t know about you- but that motivates me to live better and love more.

God gave his only son…. So Celebrate this Christmas- Our Redeemer Lives!

Christmas Parade

Divorce & The Holidays

christmas

As the holidays approach, life can really get complicated.  Add in blended families and divorced parents and it can be a real mine field.

So I am going to offer something that, I hope will make your holiday what you hope for.  Sit quietly and think about what memories you would like to make with your children and what you want them to remember when they are grown and look back on the holidays that they shared with you.  Frankly, this applies to any facet of life- what do you want your kids to remember when they look back and make that happen.

In regards to the holidays, don’t let all the voices pulling at you influence your dreams.  Just take a few minutes to dream about what you would like and what would be best for your children.  Now go do that.

I am reminded of a conversation I once had with a friend.  Her children were all little and she was married to her original husband who was the father of all four kids.  The stress she was feeling was that both his and her parents were divorced and remarried- and all wanted them at their respective homes for the holidays.  She was exhausted and didn’t really want to make 5-6 stops in a 48 hour period with four small children in tow.  This was not what she thought was best for her kids or herself.  When asked what I thought I offered this:

“You did not create the problem.  It was not your decision or your husband’s for either of your parent’s to get a divorce.  The adults at the time made that decision.  Now, they have to live with the consequences.  Because they chose divorce, they now have to understand that they will not have all the children and grandchildren at every holiday.  And that is not your fault or your problem to fix.”

Now, will people get mad when you choose to stay home or only visit one or two homes?  Yes.

Will they get their feelings hurt?  Probably.

Will they be harmed? No.

The main thing is that you live and establish YOUR family in the way that is best for you and them.  Your  children are only little once, don’t let it pass by missing out on what you dream of by trying to make everyone else happy.

I hope this helps someone have a less stressful holiday.  The holidays should be a time of joy and celebration- but we have to be purposeful for that to happen.

 

Faith & Farm

summer squash

As a blogger friend posted about the rain and hay making- which can be very dicey- it occurred to me that anyone who farms has so much to contend with on a day to day basis.  There is the weather, insects that destroy, insects that help, insects that are neither and the job of telling them apart, animal husbandry, fatigue and the list goes on.  Where do we find the strength to keep at it?  Where does one go for help for these things such as weather for which there is no control?

For me my faith in God and my Bible are my mainstays.  Many would scoff at this and that is ok.  I simply cannot deny what my Creator does for me in my life- I have seen to much to be dissuaded.  Some who may share my Christian faith will think what follows is mystical hog wash and that is ok, too.  Again, I have seen the proof in my life and on my farm, in my kids and  I know that this works.

 

 

It is all in our perspectives with which we view our world.  If we deny that we have an enemy- we see the world and what happens to us in one of two ways.

1. I must be blowing it- or

2. God is holding out on me.

Neither are true.  We were born into a world at war, good versus evil.  God versus Satan.  The good news is that God wins.  I have come to the conclusion that the enemy hates gardens and farms- especially organic ones that seek to steward this Earth the way God intended.  Just look at what Monsanto is doing to small farmers and our food sources and you will see evil at work.

So considering that I have this enemy who wants to take me down, I get up every morning and I go to battle.  I pray over my farm, my family, my marriage but I don’t just pray empty words or cliches, I use the Word of God as my sword.  You will find a scripture on any subject that you need  if you look, but for the sake of this discussion on farm life- I will stick to the ones I use over my farm.

Zechariah 8:12

For the seed shall be prosperous,

The vine shall give its fruit

The ground shall give her increase,

And the heavens shall give their dew-

I will cause the remnant of this people 

To posses all theses.

 

Proverbs 27: 25

When the hay is removed and the tender grass shows itself,

And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in,

The lambs will provide your clothing,

And the goats the price of a field

You shall have enough goats’ milk for your food,

For the food of your household

And the nourishment of you maidservants.

 

Deuteronomy 28: 11-12

And the Lord shall grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body,, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground…

The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand.

 

Each morning as I pray these words over my farm, I thank God that He has given me these promises.  As I pray I also remind Satan of these truths and tell him to take his curses- such as grasshoppers- back to hell where they came from.  Just as in any war, you win some battles and you lose some battles.  Regardless of the outcome of the battles I know who won the war and what the future holds- Victory.  So, when hardships do come I remember the promises and stand on those.  If I lose the battle of the squash to the squash bug, I thumb my nose at the enemy and replant.  Then, little by little you begin to see the shift.  You produce more, things come a little easier, and you see more of the promises show up in the everyday life.  With faith we can move mountains- or shift the mountain of high pressure off of us in the summer to let a little rain in.  Maybe there is not a huge amount of rain, but if by faith I can shift a 1/2 inch in to our skies that may make the difference between life and death of my gardens.  I will take that as a win.  Today as I write this, it never got over 83′ F  and we have received about 4 inches of rain over the past 4 days- in JULY in TEXAS.  That is nothing short of a miracle.  Oh, how we are rejoicing.

None of this means that life is just easy street, but it means that instead of futility I can see our farm advancing.  I have been praying like this for the past 15 years in regards to my children and my marriage and when the farm came along about 7 years ago I approached it the same way.  It took awhile for the gardens to build up some steam but finally I began to harvest enough tomatoes to make some sauce and put it up by canning.  Now, I am canning some every week.  These are victories.

Trust  me, you will be opposed when you begin to pray like this and to believe the promises of God.  This does not make the promises less true, to the contrary it means they are all the more real.

David Austin Rose

Celebrate America! Happy Birthday!

With all that is going on in our country at this time, there is a lot to be said for how far we have fallen from our foundation.  I know that  many don’t believe that there is much to celebrate.  This Fourth of July, however, I choose to celebrate.  We are a great nation that is going through a rough patch, but I believe in our country, in the youth of our country, and my fellow Americans.  We will overcome and in the words of our great president,

Well I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — America’s best days are yet to come. Our proudest moments are yet to be. Our most glorious achievements are just ahead.

RONALD REAGAN, Republican National Convention, Aug. 17, 1992

Zavalla Willie Nelson washington_washington_monument_flickr (1) vintage flat summer 09 079 simple-church-house roses and herbs night at  the barn 025 oil Old country store old mill inn 2 patriotic-barn_~k4525677 redwood forest riogrande marshall courthouse Liberty Bell Kenneth_Farm grandmother and granddad in uniform grand canyon Golden Gate Bridge Effie the pig john wayne and flag flag and constiturion flag with marines first american flag boots and flag arlington cemetary

Thanks you to all the men and women who have sacrificed to make this country  a reality, who have died and fought to keep us free, and worked to make us great.  I want to dedicate this post to my friend , Stephane  @ My French Heaven, if France had not come to our aid during The Revolution, we may not have ever been The United States of America.  So, from our country to yours- Thank you.

Happy Birthday, America!  One Nation Under God, God Bless  America.