Turkey and love

We recently bought a few turkeys, including one large bird intended for the main course for our Thanksgiving meal. Before I tell you his name, I need to give a bit of backstory.

The piece of land that we live on is owned by my parents, who also reside here, and while this type of living arrangement may sound stressful to many, it works wonderfully for us. My parents, as well as my husband, are both kind and flexible, which is the only way a situation like this works.

Back to the turkey.

My father has always been animal lover, but never more-so than after we moved here. He has such a tender and loving heart, that he is not the man you want to call if a “hard” job needs to be done (like putting down a wounded animal), but  just the man to call if you need to tame one. He works slowly and methodically to win over the affection of different animals, basking in the triumph of holding a “feral” cat, or having a chicken (named “Sweetie”) jump onto his arm on command.

I’m rambling again, back to the turkey…

As soon as they brought him home my dad began to try to pet and hold him, don’t ask me why. We were all suggesting names like, “Stuffing”, “Thanksgiving”, and “Good Eats.” No name was decided on, however, until a few days later when my dad approached me with one of his characteristic trouble-maker grins. “I’ve figured out what to name the turkey! Worms! That way no one will want to eat him for Thanksgiving, it would sound so awful to tell people we were eating Worms for our meal!” He was very pleased with himself. My mom says we’re still going to eat the turkey, but I’ll let you know…

A smattering of thoughts

A friend told me the other day how she kept hearing the same message/ideas from different sources. As she spoke the words it hit me that this experience is such an act of grace from God. He could be content to say something once, and if we miss it, oh well, our loss. But for some reason He doesn’t give up, and speaks the words we need to hear again, often many times, in order that we would finally wake up and pay attention enough to learn the lesson. Such patience.

This morning I find myself alone in my home, a completely unearthly feeling at the moment. It’s been months since I’ve been home alone, always having a set (or two) of small feet accompanying me wherever I roam. I am always slow to let go, slow to let any distance come between me and my “ducklings”. My husband is wonderful with them though, and has been so gentle with me in letting me take the time I need to nurture them to my heart’s desire. With number three on the way though, I feel it’s time to develop these skills of letting go, for both baby girl and myself.

I wrote a while back about Sabbath, and I’ve been doing my best to really take that day of rest. I still do laundry and dishes and whatever else needs to be done, but I have tried to be intentional about resting. It’s an odd sense of freedom, knowing that that day of rest is coming around at the end of the week. I take more time to play on the floor with the kids. I let the non-essential dishes pile up. I don’t get onto myself for not doing X, Y, or Z. I try to find things that will nourish my spirit. Maybe God had a good idea when He came up with this whole Sabbath thing… ;)

For the moment my ex husband has stopped threatening to take me to court over our son’s education (he doesn’t like homeschooling), and that has done a great deal for my ability to rest. It’s hard to be still with your thoughts and not get overcome with frustration/worry with court battles looming. It never stops though, these reminders that we’re not really in control of our own lives. We can choose how we respond to things, but as much as we like to think we hold the reigns, there are very few things over which we wield control. In reading Sarah MacKenzie’s book Teaching from Rest, I was reminded that we are called to faithfulness, we are not called to bring forth certain amounts or kinds of fruit. God gives us the seeds and it’s our job to plant and tend to them, it’s not up to us how much our plants produce. It would be nice if there were a simple formula for a thriving garden, but there’s not, and while being frustrating at times, there is freedom in that.

Grateful 8/2/15

Grateful for…

– homemade lentil soup (this cookbook is fabulous, and has my favorite lentil soup recipe!)

– my napping baby (as this is such a rare occurrence, she is just like her Papa!)

– Andy Stanley’s sermons on what to do when there’s nothing you can do….

– this super fun summer reading program, which is helping us find all sorts of new books to read

– muddy pigs (you just haven’t seen “happy” until you’ve seen a pig roll in muddy water)



It’s been a busy season, although the introvert in me reminds that this is often the case, with not quite enough down time for pausing and reflection. I suspect that this is a frequent occurance with mothers of small children. My husband has been researching the idea of the sabbath, and I have to say that I really like the concept, but am still struggling with how to apply it.

The Bible speaks of not doing work on the sabbath, but what about changing dirty diapers? That most certainly qualifies as work in my book, but there is no way I am going to leave my precious baby’s bum in a dirty diaper. The New Testament seems less rigid in it’s outline of how to observe the sabbath, but I have to admit that this almost makes it more difficult, because the lines become even more blurred. A documentary we watched mentioned avoiding selfish work, but as a mother, in all honesty, I don’t feel like much of my work is selfish. Making family meals, washing dishes so we have a way to eat said meals, picking up the house so my husband doesn’t come home to a wreck…it’s not exactly like I’m working so I can buy myself a new car.

That said, I also have been convicted regarding what value God puts on observing the sabbath…by the punishments required for breaking it, it seems that it’s very important to Him. I heard a sermon once that talked about what message breaking the sabbath sends, the pastor said that we are declaring God’s work not enough, but deciding that we must add to it. His grace and forgiveness have finished the job, but then we come along and try to add our part – it’s dishonoring to His sacrifice and the completeness thereof.

Yesterday we packed up and headed to my in-laws, and for my part, I have been doing very little. This morning I laid beside my baby girl while she slept, unable to leave the room for fear she would roll off the bed, and so I just rested. There is a different type of rest that comes when you actually can’t do anything else. Afterwards we played on the floor and again, I rested. I didn’t fold laundry, or clean the kitchen table, I just sat there and enjoyed her. Still not sure what a weekly sabbath looks like for me, but I’m grateful for a glimpse of rest.

Fix your minds

Amazingly we still have a stream running through our property – all that rain we got was both wonderful and terrible (depending on whether your house was in a floodplain or not). My brother works with a disaster relief organization and has been working tirelessly to help flood victims. It’s sad that there are often organizations that come in promising assistance but leave as  soon as the camera crews are gone. But at least a faithful few are still there.

Although our garden appreciated the rain, our fences did not, and our dogs have taken the opportunity to escape through several newly created holes. Our male dog, Jake, is an incredible escape artist. After we put the dogs in a smaller kennel to ensure they wouldn’t get out of the yard again, I watched in awe as he painstakingly checked each part of the fence for weaknesses, until he had located just the right spot that had a little give. We ended up getting both the dogs fixed, in hopes that they will choose to stay on our property willingly, otherwise it’s “hit the road Jack!” – farm dogs don’t do much good if they won’t stay on the farm.

Doing lots of praying lately, and worrying, there are so many people/situations that are in need of prayer right now, from flooding to heart surgeries to our government! I was reminded the other day that we need to steer our thoughts away from those constant worries though, because by getting stuck there we make ourselves a great target for the enemy, and give away our joy. The following verse is one you’ll probably know, but the version gives it a little extra punch I think… Phil. 4:6-8 (Amplified Version) “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].

Conversations we wish we’d never had






Do you ever replay conversations in your head? How they could have gone differently? What you could have said in rebuttal against a cruel comment, a way you could have built your case in a different/more effective way? My mom keeps reminding me to say, “let it go” to myself when it comes to mind, but even so I woke up early this morning thinking about it. Praying for more love in my heart than I have right now, and wondering where righteous anger fits in this context, as I am certain that it does, at least in part. Guarding innocence and fighting ignorance is a justifiable reason to get upset, especially on behalf of children.

The positive to conversations like this is the perspective one gains. Like black velvet behind a beautiful diamond, those dark situations or people can provide a much deeper appreciation for the kind and the honorable in your midst. My husband is ever a source of strength and wisdom, and I am so glad to not be in this fight by myself.

But what to do with the replays? The rewrites? I am trying to keep in mind that my “score” in the conversation has nothing to do with the response I received, but everything to do with my intentions for peace, and my adherence to maintaining my values throughout (such as not blaming or name calling, trying to affirm when possible, looking for common ground, keeping the big picture in mind, etc). And the hurt and disappointment over the way the conversation played out…that must be turned over, as many times as necessary, to the One who cares and has the power to do something about it.

Little fingers

Puppies and babies. Doesn’t get much better, does it? My daughter kept grabbing the things I was trying to photograph, but I just love those little fingers.

So I’ve started listening to the Read Aloud Revival podcast and oh my is it wonderful! I have always enjoyed reading aloud to my son, and now to my daughter as well, but this podcast is exceptionally inspirational and has encouraged me to clean off a couple shelves in my living room just for “read aloud” books. I love the idea of education through reading, whether you’re learning history, geography, grammar, even math…why not find a good fiction or biography and give your brain a good soak?

As a kid I remember listening to Little Women – my mom says I tried to copy the sentence structure and vocabulary after listening to it, and was quite “refined” for a week or so afterwards. What’s your favorite book to read aloud or listen to on audiobook?