Thursday, February 13, 2014

Homestead check-in

2014 egg count: 39

(keeping track of eggs coming in is harder than it sounds!)

I will snap some pictures of my winter plants soon, they are doing wonderfully--especially my beets!! Can't wait to plant next month.

Happening around our house:

 Daniel's Star Wars bend on the famous Hamlet-Yorek scene:
"Hey Mom, remember that famous scene  from Hamlet where he's talking to the skull?"
Up next: The Complete Works of Shakespeare, as enacted through Star Wars action figures (and Barbies)

 I picked up some modeling clay for my budding artist Mallory; she proceeded to construct the solar system on this cardboard, complete with...oh man, she told me, some science-y thing like the a Nebula? Asteroid belt? Milky Way galaxy? I'll ask her and then come add it here. She and her dad spend a lot of time studying space and naming things, looking them up and then finding them outside with our telescope. I think its pretty impressive the the planets are all lined up from the sun the right way. She picked planet valentines this year, too. Apparently we are on a space-kick. Does that make us spaced out? :)

My new CDs, to replace ones stolen or lost in years past, and to play in my car during the ride to work. I know, CDs are a bit archaic, but my Ipod story is complicated, and while I'm waiting to see if it will be fixed, if it can be fixed, or if I am going to buy a new one, I wanted some music.

A parting thought:
What is the difference between our will and God's will?

The Results.



So, in an effort to be absolutely vague and not forthcoming, a prompt from an application I have asked me for my Christian Testimony. I thought I'd share it here.

"I've always talked to God.

Even though my family didn't talk about God, I always knew He was there. We talked about everything, starting when I was about...four? Five? My mom taught me quietly about God in window moments, but it was my grandmother who showed me that God was real and He was Life. In our summer visits to Georgia, I learned that for some people, God was always there--church was a part of everyday life. I remember the first time I heard a Baptist hymn--I could barely see over the pew, but I sure could hear the song story of the rugged cross.

Sometime around middle school, while my nightly conversations with God changed topics from stuffed bears and tupperware snacks to peer pressure and pleas for acceptance, I found friends who invited me to Immanuel Baptist Church. I spent time in the youth group there and went to church every Sunday, learning for the first time about baptism and about who Jesus really was. I was 13 when I asked Jesus to come into my heart, and was baptized in the church by Pastor Jeremy. I still have my first bible, given to me by my mom that day; I remember the piano and the blue carpet and the white robe, and the water that refreshed my spirit.

Walking with God as a teenager with little adult-family spiritual guidance can be a bit vacuous--I remember thinking at times, "Well, what do I now? Now that I'm baptized? What is my calling? What IS a calling?" But I kept going to church, and sometimes would visit other churches to try them on, like a glove--searching for a warm fit. My heart would always return to the roots of my childhood, however, with the thick blue Baptist hymnal blending in with the new, modern music--words projected on the screen--My God is an Awesome God.

Going to college at UCLA was, in a word, overwhelming. My campus was the size of our town, and friendliness was a hot commodity, rare and cherished when one could find it. I immediately sought out refuge in the church, and became an active member of Campus Crusade for Christ. It was there I found my roommates for the years to come, there I found friends and potlucks and Bible studies to counter the frat parties and sporting events that were not a part of my social circle. Being a music major, I was asked to sing at an Episcopalian church on the 3rd Street Promenade every Sunday; having no car, I would hop a bus with the other college students, or homeless women carrying bird cages, or older men heading to the veteran's hospital and looking slightly lost, and go to church. Later, a Catholic church asked me to sing in their afternoon services; and with my Crusade Bible studies, I soon found Sundays filled with worship from morning to evening. I learned a lot about the two denominations I interacted with, and while I remained at heart Southern Baptist (with a slight emphasis on the Southern), I appreciated the other faiths and their differences--learning that how God speaks to one may not be how He speaks to all. I remember feeling so glad to know that He knew so many "languages", and that His presence was truly there for all who were seeking. The building was just the receptacle.

After college, I had several job offers and a few grad school offers from many places in Southern California that were part of the larger LA area; but my heart wanted to come home. I'm truly a desert dweller, and even more truly a small-town person. I got a job with the local school district teaching elementary music, and met my future husband. He was and is a devout servant of the Lord, and we have been married 12 years and are raising five beautiful children. When our fourth was born, I left work to be a stay-at-home mother for the next five years. My husband's extended family is quite large, and meets for worship in the homes of different family members almost every Sunday--but it is our family's daily walk with God that has been the glue of our marriage. My children go to Sunday school at the Nazarene Church, and have been to Immanuel's summer vacation Bible school every year for a decade. We read the Bible together frequently, and my son has aspirations to be a priest and perhaps attend the College of the Ozarks in Missouri, where our family has deep religious ties.

In fact, the most spiritually trying time of my life came when my priest-aspiring son was born in 2002. Daniel was born with the fatal heart defect of TGA (transposition of the great arteries). They flew him to Loma Linda ten hours after his birth, and he underwent two open heart surgeries in the first six weeks of his life. I wore out my knees with prayer during those weeks, and knew God was listenig when our surgeon asked if he could pray with us. I sang "The Lord is in His Holy Temple," "Amazing Grace," and "Everything's Alright in my Father's House" over and over again to my son; soon, the doctors' asked us to stay in and sing through Daniel's daily procedures, because our hymns stablized his vitals. The hospital staff has us record our songs so they could play them through the surgeries. They asked us to visit other babies in the NICU and sing to them. I read at night my Bible and Hinds Feet in High Places, finding comfort in the allegory of Much Afraid and trying desparately to not BE Much Afraid. God delivered, as He promises He will, and let Daniel stay with us--a gift that I give thanks for every day. My personal rainbow.

I began my testimony with the sentence "I've always talked to God," and that holds true today as it did 30 years ago, when our conversation began. His faithfulness to me, to my family, to my children is a constant source of wonder and strength to me. The opportunity to share this has been meaningful, and I give thanks to Him as I trace His line through my life--How Great Thou Art."

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Cooking and Creativity

Here is a quick post of my daughter Mallory making dinner for the family on Tuesdays while I teach the dreaded night school--so we can fund a family trip to visit our oldest daughter in Monterrey this summer, complete with an aquarium exploration! She is making pizza muffins; last week, she made burritos and quesidillias. Next week, we will do spaghetti. Hooray! She is such a big help to me!

Also, I've been teaching myself to draw. :) Learning a new skill has been a tremendous amount of fun for me! Both my girls are very artistic, so I started this journey to participate with them; now its become something I am very much enjoying, soul food if you will, and actually fairly private; but I did want to share this with you. 

I bought this book from Amazon to get back into my journaling and my writing:
This has also been so much fun for me! I've just started, and I have a terrible habit of starting out the proverbial gate with a blast and sprinting for a nice, short while and then letting things fall by the wayside as life takes over, or perhaps the newness wears off. However, since motherhood/working/internet sort of rearranged my life, I haven't written like I used to; I used to fill journals. :) My inspiration for this is actually my students; I'm teaching English this year for one period, and as I ask them to write for me--I need to remember where they are coming from. 

At this moment, my cup of creativity is full, and warm, and smells of chamomile. How incredibly lucky am I to explore art through the power of the internet, have a minute in the morning to write, and learn a new instrument in between the pulses and poundings of every day reality...very lucky, indeed.

OH!! Finished this:

And started this:

My secret little "hobby" is reading non-fiction accounts of women who settled the west in the late 1800s. One day I'll do a post of my "read" books and "want to read" books of this spiritual inspirations :)

Much love to all tonight!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Weekend Catch-up

Not a lot to report on the homestead this weekend, the weather turned chilly--so I stayed inside! (Chilly = dropped below 60 degrees with a breeze--Desert Winter)

One piece of great news: Chickens are a layin! Hooray!

2014 Egg Count: 6

My little winter garden pots are doing well; even with the drop in temperatures we are still sunny; so my lettuce and kale seeds have sprouted. The transplants aren't doing as well, though. They are still healthy and green--but they aren't growing very noticeably! The beets seems to have set well, although my "experiment beet" is done for, I believe.

Just a quiet, rather uneventful weekend.

Still summer-dreaming...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dream Rig?

Added a new blog to my blogroll on the right--this family is hard core! Love it!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Red Rock Canyon Hike

Weekend Reading

Saturdays always go by too fast.

These articles have graced my computer screen at some point this weekend:


This method worked beautifully, by the way! I had just procured (yup, not bought) a beautiful, white down comforter for Holly Faith. So warm and fluffy! Just cleaned it for the first time, and all went well! 

I walked two miles on the treadmill Friday and Saturday, which improved my mood quite a, we are taking the kids to Fossil Falls for a morning hike, and we have a rehearsal at 3. Sundays are always...pastel. Still beautiful, but the time is dimmed in the shadow of "THE WEEK". Here is where I should probably admit I spent too much time on Pinterest in the mornings, pinning art projects and lessons for the girls and I to do. The girls have been drawing all weekend. I am learning to draw with them, and I don't want to write too much about it yet--its been such a fulfilling, therapeutic, and somewhat magical experience--to learn something new, and to find what is inside you--this is where the heartbeat of life is found. 

Here's what's for dinner tonight:

Happy Homesteading! :)