Life Lessons

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Ramblies from my Path of Life

Life for me has been kind of random as of late.   Mentally and physically preparing for the birth of my 4th baby, which should arrive in 4 weeks. I am preparing room in my for heart for this little baby that just kicks and kicks and I can’t wait to hold that slimly little baby close to me.

Mother's Day 2014

Birthday weekend

I turned 40 last week.  We partied, thanks to my hubbs, mom and sister who were scheming behind my back.  My mom and sister prepared such a delightful brunch for the guests my husband carefully thought thru to invite; some really good girl friends and some older woman who have spoken into my life. I was so humbled by their presence and kind words!  They offered me life!

A gathering of Friends

A gathering of Friends

My mother and sister with me at the celebration

My mother, sister and I  at the celebration

The green beans are up and the 50 tomato plants look great.  This is all thanks to some dear folks from church who found out we were not going to do a garden this year and asked if they could share  our garden space.  Why “Yes please, we would be happy to share our garden plot and the work load.”  I am so thrilled about this opportunity.  It’s just a small way I am seeing Jesus care for us!

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I need these babies, last year I froze 55 qt bags and I have 2 left.

My deck which was barren and simple was transformed when my mother and sister showed up with presents to make it a lovely, oasis. They strung lights and what not.  A place where I want to go have my quiet time at.  My husband bought me a beautiful bistro table complete with red pillows and  umbrella.  We love to sit out there and enjoy the quiet and I have been fortunate to have a few friends over to sip coffee with me, it’s  just a respite from the daily

hold rums of living!

IMG_2388 All 100 blueberry and 45 black raspberry plants are in.  My hubbs, boys and I did it one day.  I hurt for days after wards and felt like I could sleep for a whole week post berry bush planting.  But they are in and we hope to produce a lot of healthy small berries out of that patch for years to come.

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CJ just happy to mix the peat moss, water and dirt!

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I have been crafting a bit, rare occurrence these days.  I forgot how wonderful a hot glue gun smells.  I used to use mine all the time, when free time was more plentiful.  Just that smell takes me back, it’s a smell of days gone by.  It was all so odd how it took me back.  Last week I also  finally took down a few remnants of Christmas, (red berries that were still pretty and Christmas cookie jars) whew was I ever behind this year!!!

IMG_2378Fire fly’s and little boys are such a wonder to me.  My boys loose all track of time when they set there hearts on catching fire fly’s.  They remind me to linger just a bit longer.  The other night, in the rain they are climbing on rails with nets and what not because they wanted to capture the firefly on the window all the while they had already been given orders to get there jammies on.  They really were not being defiant, they were just lost in the wonder of light.  When I stop and look at the world through their eyes, it causes me to want to slow down just a bit more!

Our special company!

Our special company!

We happened upon a local, reasonably priced U-Pick strawberry patch this summer and have picked well over 100 lbs of strawberries.  Let’ s just say my husband has passed his love of straws onto his boys!!

Angel food cake, whipped cream and fresh straws! Yummo!

Angel food cake, whipped cream and fresh straws! Yummo!

I am using lots of paper plates these days.  I have given myself permission.  Sometimes it’s in the giving of permission that you realize it really is ok.  That I am not lazy, but it is a coping mechanism to survival.  I want to live life well and not feel like I am constantly in a squeeze.  So part of that is using paper as I finish out this 3rd trimester pregnancy, and work on  umpteen freezer meals (will share a post in a week or 2 about freezer meals) for when baby #4, and homeschooler #1 need my attention and all of us need to eat!

I still dream about business, it’s amazing to me how it side wipes me every now and again.  I love it that ‘HOPE’ is kept alive by these little side swipes.  The Lord keeps bringing people into my life to remind that HE really did place that dream in my heart.  I will run into old customers, job opportunities (even though I am not willing to lay down these moments with my babies for those opportunities) and people who want to pick our brains and draw from our experience.  It all just happens in the oddest of places but out of that HOPE  is kept alive in my soul.  I wonder if there will ever be a ‘release’ in my heart to do another business or what it will look like? I have many dreams and many more questions but for now, we will plant 30-50 each of peonies and hydrangeas and see what kind of LIFE they will bring to us and just maybe a business opportunity?   Peonies have got to be the prettiest flowers there are.  This lovely bouquet came from my friend Sarah.  They have come and gone but I still wanted to share their beauty.

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And finally, as I prepare for baby #4, I am amazed at the growth in my soul. I remember being so overwhelmed about ‘all the stuff’ that was not getting done when I had  baby #1.   I have learned to let go of things that really weren’t quite as important as I deemed them to be.  Not that they didn’t have value in our home but I think that as I am preparing my heart for baby #4 and I see all the things that may not get done;  like my kitchen floor not getting swept every day or the house not perfectly picked up or a blog post that is 4 weeks past due, I realize that there is more of a settled peace in my heart today then there was 6 years ago when I was adjusting to baby #1.  Jesus is inviting me to press in, to walk this path with a new sense of rest.  I would never have thought this possible but I am learning that this life, our journey is not so much about our circumstances but it is about pressing in and embracing what may seem to be  schedule irritations.   I am finding this quote so amazingly true!!   “The More You Love Your Decisions, the Less You Need Others to Love Them.”

Whatever the hard is that your wanting to run from or fighting to press into, I trust that you can find the place deep in your soul to accept what you need to and  walk your journey with ‘grace!’

BLESSINGS!

Dawn

‘Happy Birthday Jesus’ Party

We hosted a party last week.  It was so much fun. I am not sure if  it was my kids or I who was most excited?  As a mom, I struggle in knowing how to wrap my arms around the fact that Christmas is about Jesus coming in flesh as a baby but we all get the gifts?  How do I impart the mystery of Christmas to my little ones?  And let me tell you I love gifts.  I love Christmas, I love all the cozy, warm feelings that go along with every thing around this glorious event.  But yet I wrestle, I want my kids to get it.  That Christmas is so much more then the gifts we get or that it’s not about Santa Claus  or being ‘naughty or nice’ contrary to what my neighbors are discussing with my boys?

So my husband and I have talked for several years about doing a party for Jesus.  Some year we hope to do it with dad’s joining us but this year it was a day party with mom’s and lots of little kids.

We invited about 16+ kids and told them to bring $$ for an animal project that we would pick out from a Gospel for Asia or World Vision Christmas catalog.  They had fun looking thru the catalogs!

IMG_0328These precious children blew me away.  They came up with $82.  We will probably  purchase chickens, seed packets and bibles with the money. 

My boys were so into this party.  I don’t think they nearly understood everything but then again maybe they got more then I think.  Cj was racing around taping little Snoopy pictures to the front door and Camden was blowing up every balloon he could put his little mouth on.  We were partying!  And it’s in that Spirit that Christ breathes wind into our souls, if we let HIM!IMG_0343We had a simple line up.  When they arrived we were going to go to the card making station and they were supposed to make a birthday card for Jesus and tell him what they want to give HIM or do for HIM this Christmas.  The cards were varied and touching!  Such sweet creativity!  For the wee ones we had a little baby Jesus paper that they could paste real straw on the manager.

IMG_0361IMG_0367And then this sweet girl, Elysa sang us “Happy Birthday Jesus” complete with the sign motions.  It was so sweet!!  And kids are so spontaneous.  It’s just so precious to see life thru their eyes!!

IMG_0325IMG_0357I hope that this Christmas you will have some time to sit and ponder the mystery of Christmas and how the message plays out in a practical way in your personal decisions!  Merry Christmas!

Dawn

Authenticity

This morning the fall candle is lit, the coffee steamy  (haven’t made a good cup like this in a long time, not sure what I did different-ha), the maple yogurt with pumpkin granola (made by a sweet friend) was divine, the children are still in bed and my husband and I came before the throne with our praises and our needs. The quiet was a gift!

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And yet my mind is cluttered, I sit with piles of summer/winter clothes in my sun room waiting for good homes.  The school room and the toy room have remnants of yesterday’s play. The dishes (thank goodness their clean) from last night all still need put away.  The laundry needs started, I have dead flowers sitting in vases that need taken out (days ago), the yogurt needs made (the milk will go bad if I wait one more day), Camden’s basketball form needs run up the street (TODAY because our Upwards fills up that quickly, today is opening day for registration), the rose garden project that I have been attempting to re-do is no farther advanced then it was 6 months ago,  the kids need loved on, school needs to happen (side bar, I had no idea it would be so hard to home school).  You get it, the list is long. I am sure your list is long  too……..

So how do I do life well in the midst of this?  How do I love well when life is pressing in? How do I connect with Jesus when there is no time to just sit for hours (like I used to do when I was single) before his face?

My wise mentor, Martha spoke these words as I bore my soul to her this summer! Today I am re-reading her words and taking them to heart.

She said, “Dawn, the seed (my ideals of a clean house, the longing for uninterrupted time with the Lord, the notion that the list will get done today, my own agenda) must die so that it can bring forth fruit (happy children, a joyful momma when the list isn’t completed-practicing joy even when I don’t feel it, children who are read to, children who have been shown Jesus in every day living).”  She said that all the time I had before children was a good planting but now the ‘Authentic Test of my Faith’ is being applied.   And that He, Jesus is more pleased with me living out of my sacrifice and service to my husband and my children then a perfectly peaceful heart because things went as I had hoped.  She said, “What if this is what HE wants more from you right now/the serving more then the long quiet time with Him?”  These were the words I needed to hear.  So often I get lost in what I perceive is holy and I sacrifice that for what is really the best…..giving of myself completely to my husband and children.  This she tells me is ‘Authentic Faith’.

She continues to speak truth to me.  She tells me to hold my hands open, lifted up in worship, in sacrifice to Him.  Somehow in the lifting up of my hands, I let something in my heart go, that frees me.  When I place in one hand all that Jesus is, He’s the perfect planner, the perfect organizer, the perfect civilizer of any domain, the perfect parent and the list goes on, you get it.  And I hold in the other hand me, myself and all the things that I deem inadequate about myself but when I bring both of my hands together and lift them (literally) in worship.  I find surrender.  I find tears.  I find release.  I am offering my sacrifice.  He receives me just like I am.  These days I am doing this a lot!! The seed is dying and it’s painful but I am trusting HIM to bring forth fruit!  He is able to sustain me because He has all the resources!!  I am not talking here about easy answers or cliche.  I am talking here about my ‘hard’ about your ‘hard’.  Placing them in the hand of myself but naming all the things He is in the other and offering it, really offering it!

What is HE speaking to you in the messes of your days? I would love to hear about it!  Just remember, don’t wear the names your giving yourself (i.e. inadequate, failure, most impatient momma on the planet, not-enough) run to HIM about the names you should be wearing.  They will make all the differnce in how you live your life. 

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My path is always open, please come visit!

Sweet PEACE my friend!

Dawn

 

Last Saturday

we were very random and spontaneous, well the spontaneous  part started about mid way thru the week.  Let me back up a bit, earlier this spring I had been in Lancaster, PA and mentioned to my friend, Jess that I was doing this radical detox (due to feeling so lousy since my 3rd baby i.e. 4 pregnancies in 5 years probably contributed to that) she mentioned this health food store that might have a lot of the products that I am looking for. While at the health food store I picked  up a brochure that talked about ‘Family Days on the Farm’.   Sorry there is no website to link you to, I wish there was because in our spontaneity we were the beneficiaries of an an amazing, educational, fun, informative and just all around superb day!!

There were proably 10 large tents like this on the grounds.  All filled with great things to discover!

There were probably 10 large tents like this on the grounds. All filled with great things to discover!

I had marked this day on the calender back in March, thinking that if we need a little family outing maybe we would pack every one up  and go on a long drive to take the event in. We live about 3 hours from Lancaster.  It came down to the week of and my husband and I kept going back and forth, should we go, should we not?  We last minutish, invited our friends, Shawn and Katrina to go with us and they said, “Let us see what we can do.”  They have a very tight schedule, they run a home for elderly and do such an amazing job in their commitment to give a ‘loving family’ approach to the aging as they approach the end of life.  It also means they are not able to steal away very easily.

My hubbs and I left it that if they would join us we would go.  My husband has been traveling a lot with work lately, we have been hosting guests for meals and over night and were feeling a bit tired but also feeling like maybe this little day trip might just be the thing we need for a bit of adventure.  I did question what kind of event this would be because we didn’t know anyone who was connected to it?  And I was thinking what if we drag 2 van loads (urs and Shawn’s family) of people up their and it turns out to be a joke.  Bum deal that would be!!IMG_8180IMG_8170

Shawn’s got back to us with a “Yes”  It was so worth every ounce of effort it took to make the day happen.  We left our house at 6:15 a.m. and didn’t arrive home till 12:15 a.m. Sunday morning.  (Needless to say, we were dragging on Sunday!!).  The memories we made, the workshops we took in, the healthy food we ate, the simplicity of simple living and the generous hospitality they welcomed us with, were amazing.

When we entered the farm of Mr Zook (he’s the organic Amish farmer who allowed his land to host the event) at 9:40 a.m. they told us that there were already 1,600 people on the property and last year the event pulled 2,000 people so clearly in their 2nd year of an event like this they were going to draw a much bigger crowd.

For real, that is a real live camel with her baby.  They were loading to take her home.

For real, that is a real live camel with her baby. They were loading to take her home.

They had such well planned things for the children to do.  Workshops for the adults, such as blueberry growing, healthy eating, how to raise chickens, how to butcher chickens, horse training, cheese making, the dangers of GMO’s, how processed food has increased diseases, composting and the list goes on and on.  It was basically an event to educate us on how to care for the land with out the use of synthetic products.

Jordyn having fun with one of her prizes!!

Jordyn having fun with one of her prizes!!

The food was donation basis and all came from the ‘local’ area.  They had a fresh salad bar, chicken corn soup, chili soup, grilled hamburgers (on fresh ground whole wheat buns) , homemade hand  made sausage links, fresh fruit cups, smoothies of all kinds, fresh grape juice, lemonade made with stevia, homemade healthy pies :-), homemade ice-cream made with all raw products and sweetened with maple syrup, raw sugar and/or stevia. It was all just very impressive to me!!! And the fact that the food was on a donation basis.  Blows me away.

The atmosphere was so kid friendly.  Our friend, Shawn walked on and said, “This is definitely not like the Fauquier fair, where you are constantly on edge about where your kids are?” That was a true statement.

I come home with a new appreciation for farming and the hard work that goes into it.  Gardening is hard work but to know my food source and grow it is so rewarding especially when I know I am making good deposits into my children’s health and well being.

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For me, the blueberry session was probably the most beneficial because we would like to plant 100 bushes next spring. For my husband, the GMO session and the dangers associated with it was very beneficial for him and I think it will help him make good decisions in how we use our little plot of land.  The kids could not stay away from the animal tent.  And the memories we made with our friends was priceless!!  We drove into the heart of Lancaster after we left the event, stopped at road side stands to buy tomatoes and peaches and what not. And then ended it with dinner at a Deiner’s.  There food is so good and our servers were wonderful (which thru an odd circumstances of events knew my husband and Katrina) so that made our dinner experience even better.  Never mind taking 7 kids ranging from 1-9 does not create an atmosphere that you would call quiet and peaceful for dinner but it did fill their bellies well which was most important for the  long ride back!

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Katrina and I with our kids!

Sometimes information overload can be so overwhelming but with time as you download all that info into your brain and think about it for weeks or months it helps you make good decisions going forward. I think that is how this event will be for us.  So instead of being discouraged about some more changes we need to make i.e. the biggie being NO MORE round up. Ouch!  Long term I know it’s the best for our well being.

Shawn with his boys

Shawn with his boys

I also left the event encouraged, realizing that some of the healthy life style changes my husband and I have made over the past 4 years have been really good ones.

I keep thinking about Sally Clarkson’s words to us at her Intensive…… Sometimes a momma just has to be tired for the sake of her children, mothering requires sacrifice.  Sure we could have stayed home on Saturday but we would have missed an incredible opportunity with our friends making memories and educating ourselves!  Yeah for little adventures!!  Dawn