Friday, December 31, 2010

At Year's End....

I have seen my husband celebrate his first year as an ordained pastor.

Our youngest child became a teenager.

We successfully raised turkeys and butchered them.

Farm boy got his first deer.

The oldest came through a difficult place in her life and is now stronger for it.

One of us learned to accept our limitations and is working with them (most of the time).

I saw my girl be the hands and feet of Christ for another.

One of our teens stood up for the sanctity of human life.

We participated in a difficult mission trip...and made it through.

My husband remained employed.

I opened a blog and an Etsy shop...and have sold the first quilt!

We, as a family, have served our Saviour..loved, lived, and learned! May it continue.

What about you?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

WIP Update

The beautiful, floral quilt is finally quilted. Thousands of tiny stitches form clouds, leaves and petals. Tiny bees, rabbits and butterflies are hidden within the wandering blossoms of the quilting pattern. Trailing vines line every inch of sashing, including the outer border of the quilt.

Completely quilted.

Preparing for the binding in a chocolate floral print.

Trying to determine if tabs would be right for this quilt.

A complete view before the binding process.
   As it goes with all things, there is a sigh of relief mixed with sorrow. I will miss this project when it is done. Things grow on me..I have become rather comfortable with this project. Like a dear friend, this quilt has gone with me to meetings, doctor's appointments, and waiting rooms. We have traveled on long trips together and sat at the window listening to the rain. The quilt has kept me company when the kids were asleep and my husband worked late...we have become friends.
   Soon this little dear will go is not mine. A tinge of excitement and anxiety fill my heart as I look forward to the quilt's owner seeing the work for the first time. Soon it will go home and find its place with a new family...what a blessing! Loved and cared for, it will be. Any day now..

   Of course, this means...
        a new project for me!

(Yes, I have several waiting to be next!)


Tuesday, December 28, 2010


It's time for a quiet day......

   The boys headed off this morning for a two day hunting trip. Chores are done. House is picked up. Now it's time for quiet. The girls and I are taking a slow day; a day for sipping coffee and chatting. Yes, things will get done; meals and chores and such...but slower. Handwork will be done sprinkled with laughter and conversation. Light meals will be shared dotted with plan making and a game (Farmopoly anyone?). A walk with the dogs will lend itself to pondering and wanderings. We will snuggle down in our little farmhouse with a movie, stove top popcorn and cocoa.'s time for a quiet day.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Pictures from the Weekend....Christmas with Family

   Yes, we had a busy weekend with family and friends. Our celebrations have come to an end, but the memories we made will last for years to come. We would like to share a few pictures from our happy holiday. 

farm boys

farm girls

a nana and an uncle

smiling pretty

sharing laughter

dreaming of the hunt

a great-grandparent

a papa


a mimi


Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's Sunday.....

Baptist Faith & Message (2000)

XVIII. The Family

   God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
   Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide or the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.
   The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him. has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.
   Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle examples and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.

Genesis 1:26-28;2:15-25;3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; I Samuel 1:26-28; psalms 51:5;78:1-8;127;128;139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8;5:15-20:6:20-22;12:4;13:24;14:1;17:6;18:22;22:6,15;23:13-14;24:3;29:15,17;31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12;9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32;18:2-5;19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12:Romans 1:18-32; I Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33;6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; I Timothy 5:8,14; II Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; I Peter 3:1-7.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

For Unto us A Child is Born.....

   And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in  manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
   And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And. lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
   And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:6-14

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Day Before Christmas.....

the farmhouse

And all through the farm:

Decorations adorn every corner and niche.

Gifts lay wrapped and ready to give.

Treats are in tins, to have and to share;

symbols of CHRISTmas are spread everywhere!

Dinner is bubbling, the oven is hot..

Warm, silky cocoa will just hit the spot,

Family is gathering with hearts all aglow,

For we worship our Saviour who was born long ago.

Merry CHRISTmas from the Scaife family!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas from Scaife Family Farm
(the farm kids ten years ago)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Our Actions Speak Lounder Than Our Shirts

   "Do you know how many people wear those shirts and don't live it?" That got my attention. In the check out at the local grocery holding a friendly chat with the checker, he paused to ask me this question. Let me back up a minute.
   I am a regular at this store. A few weeks age a new person started working there; someone who "stood out" a bit; someone "different". This employee is very friendly and hard working-I can't complain; he does a great job and knows where to find everything. He's just unusual.
   I went through his check out line a few times. we held simple conversation: did I find everything I needed, you found some great sale items, have a nice day, come back and see us again....just friendly chat. I made a point to thank him and tell him to have a blessed rest of the day.
   When I got up this morning, I didn't put much thought into my clothing. Unwillingly, a trip to the store was needed for the items on my candy making list. Off I ventured, my mind on a million things, unaware of my clothing.

"Do you realize how many people wear those shirts and don't live it?" Woah! Stop me dead in my tracks--I started a mental inventory of all the things I had done since getting dressed this morning. Had I said something, done something...what did he see that made him ask me this? Prone to wickedness I am..I know it. My heart started to race. My remorseful answer to his question was a pentitant admission: too many. He agreed.
   Our conversation continued with how such people don't know him, yet feel the need to assume they do. In a remorseful tone he stated that doesn't know those people, and doesn't care to. I hesitantly pointed out that he doesn't know me either. My heart pounded, concerned over what he might say. His response has resounded in heart all day. "You have been nothing but kind to me."
It never crossed my mind:
Our actions speak louder than our shirts.

If I wear it, I need to be aware of how I'm representing it. Better to remain silent than bring shame to my Savior.

not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ
and trying to live it

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Special Find....He Made Me Go Back For

   I have a thing about vintage sewing machines...a sickness, really. While antique shopping with my farmboy we spotted a precious little portable for fifty dollars (that can't be right). Pondering, trying to envision where it would sit in my house, did I really need it...we moved on because it was early in our trip and I didn't want to carry it around (or leave it in my vehicle)..not to mention..that price just couldn't be right.
   Ending our day at the soda shop, my farmboy brought up the sewing machine. Fretting over the fact I have many others and had seen many others priced much higher..I hadn't planned to go back because I was convinced it was mispriced. Unrelenting, he talked me into it. He reasoned that if we could find a parking place right in front of the shop, one that is easy to get in and out of (I despise parallel parking), and it was still there..then I had to ask about the price. Hard to argue with such logical reasoning.
   We found parking- right at the front door- easily accessible. He lead me right to it, picked it up, and carried it to the front for me..reminding me that if I didn't ask I would regret it forever. The shop owner recognized the machine and said she was sure it came with a carrying case. The decision was made to call the owner of the machine to verify the price and if there was a case.
   It seems a dear older woman was the owner of this sweet little machine and its travel case. She had it in the shop for a very long time and simply felt like it was time for the little machine to find a good home and move on. Asking for information about us, she said we were the first people to even question the price and that we were more than welcome to purchase it. We did!

    Upon returning home, we discovered it to be a Singer Featherweight dating before 1900. In mint condition, the farmboy put everything together and discovered----it runs perfectly! Beautiful straight and even!
   In addition to the machine, the black travel case is in excellent condition (only missing a part of one clasp). The top tray contains bobbins, needles, and several other interesting old sewing notions. We could not believe the amazing find...remarkable.
   Yes, I listened to his great reasoning....and it lead to a surprising discovery and purchase. As of right now, my farmboy is oiling, cleaning, and conditioning the machine and the case. He has also taken on teaching me how to thread and run the precious little machine.  With his grand success getting this in order, he has decided to tackle my treadles and get them up and sewing...I can live with that.
   You realize, of course, there will be no living this down!

simplychele and the farmboy
happy stitcher

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Sunday.....

Baptist Faith & Message (2000)

XVII. Religious Liberty
   God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. They church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has not right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has not right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.

Genesis 1:27;2:7; Matthew 6:6-7,24;16:26;22:21; John 8:36; Acts 4:19-20; Romans 6:1-2;13:1-7; Galatians 5:1,13; Philippians 3:20; I Timothy 2:1-2; James 4:12; I Peter 2:12-17;3:11-17;4:12-19.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Time Away in Huntsville...Memory Making with My Farmboy

    After our trip to the Hospitality House, the farmboy and I slipped down the street for a little stroll through the square. Downtown Huntsville is know for its wide variety of historic landmarks (such as the homes of Sam Houston) and for its antique shops. Having been to the Sam Houston Museum several times, we decided to stroll the square and visit the shops.
   I love to look at old things; pieces of history are windows to our past. So many items I recognize from my childhood for my grandmothers and great-grandmothers were avid antique collectors. While the china patterns and dishware are warm and familiar (I can identify most of the major collector patterns), my heart is more drawn to vintage homestead items; old canning goods, sewing implements, iron ware and stone stuff like tools and machinery used by my prairie ancestors.
   Unsure of how he might take to such a trip, my farmboy and I just parked and started walking. I was amazed at his interest and knowledge of old tools, farm wares, and weapons. He just kept exclaiming, "Wow, this is so much fun...this is so interesting...I love this." The first shop we found was owned by a history professor and his wife; that professor and my farmboy had a lengthy share and show session- delightful! This was only one of many instances he got to experience that day.

    Another was the local guitar and motorcycle shop- farmboy heaven! This little beauty was admired for some time- you know he wanted to take it home. We stayed around this shop discussing the various instruments, the bikes and their qualities. He even played some music for us...drawing a nice little crowd.
  The farmboy and I are finding ourselves alone together more and more these days as his sisters start to grow more independent. Our trip gave us a time to get to know each other in a new way and to learn about our common interests and desires. We talked over lunch about his desire to teach survival skills and to learn about hunting and homesteading the "old way". An old soda shop brought us to stories from my memory about root beer floats and an incident with those tricky straw dispensers (he absolutely rolled all over laughing).
   Chores called us home and we took the drive together- reviewing our day's finds and singing familiar songs on the radio; plans were discussed for another day sometime ahead. I had a wonderful time away making memories with my farmboy.

Maybe next week we'll share some of our finds!

simplychele and the farmboy
home again

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hospitality for the Hospitality House

   Doing a good deed for those in need; the farmboy and I set out yesterday for a trip. Our SUV was loaded up with toy donations for the Hospitality House in Huntsville.

Hospitality House
   Hospitality House offers short term lodging to the families of local inmates. During their stay, families have access to a chapel, fresh hot meals, family friendly rooms, and a food pantry. In the past my family has joined with the Girl's In Action outreach and donated to their food pantry also spending time stocking shelves. 

   Today our sweet volunteers took quite a liking to my young teen, offering him a full guided tour of their facility. We met the director, several volunteers, and learned some of the history of the Hospitality House.
   The artwork of inmates beautifully decorates the common area..our favorite is a pen and ink depiction of Christ that incorporates various scenes from His life.  


   Hospitality House shared their newest project: a prayer garden. It seems a  Young college student has designed and donated their efforts to build this new blessing. Before we left, we learned of various opportunities to assist the facility such as adopting a room and serving on sight.

   We had a great morning with the volunteers and left with peace in our hearts knowing this ministry provides so much with so little assistance. After leaving we took the time to visit around the Huntsville area. but, we'll share more about that tomorrow...there's chores to be done!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thoughtful Tursday...Ponderings of an Accidental Pastor's Wife

Being the Hands and Feet of Christ

An ordinary day filled with the business of life; another class, another job, another moment in an ordinary day. Stepping from the truck, something is out of place- different. Entering the home- it is disrupted, someone is there. A stressful cloud of emotions are swirling around; tension is rising. Wherein does her commitment lie? A message is sent, "Pray, Mom, pray for them."
My hands fall still from the quilting in my lap. I fold them, bowing my head in humble submission. My heart cries out in intercession for a family, for broken hearts, for the little ones, for my girl. Words of His wisdom come to my heart- I send them to her: "Be the hands and feet of Christ."
Yes, that is it. Little ones are ushered up the stairs. Keeping their routine as best she can, their tummies are filled, stories are read, time is spent in play. She is concerned for their safety, their security, their emotions. She prays for quick and peaceful resolve. 
Quiet comes to the home. Again, a message is sent, "Mom, what do I do?" My answer returns, "Be the hands and feet of Christ."
Little ones are bathed; held close and comforted until they drift off to sleep. She tiptoes downstairs. Calmly sitting, she offers her presence to a woman much older than she is. Sweetly she listens to the broken heart of a mother. Compassionate quietness; a peaceful presence is shared. She tidies the home before heading off to her own.
We never know what may come in to a day; disruptions are part of life. Our family has experienced our share of disruption over the years. I have learned- our concern is not for the disruption, it is for the strength to handle them. In every situation we have the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ. No task is beneath Him, no tear is without value to Him. 
My heart was greatly touched when simplynic shared the events of this night with me. God gave me a glimpse into the heart of my girl..a peek into her character; a revelation of His presence in her. I needed this and so did she. 
Stop and ask yourself today, "What can I do?" The answer is, "Be the hands and feet of Christ."


joy comes in the morning
a loving caregiver, listener, and friend
to a family outside of her own

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Week of Finals- The Semester's End

     Gathered around the table; laptops and notebooks, sticky notes and highlighters. Teens are studying for finals. As duel credit students the girls are taking finals right along with the rest of our local college youth. Working together, the farmboy and I take turns running through terms and definitions, maps and coordinates, types of speech and essay structure. When it all gets too intense and serious, brothers can be such a wonderful comic relief!
   With all serious study sessions comes serious study foods. The farmboy whipped up some fresh fruit and taquitoes for our afternoon cram-session. Filled with shredded chicken and beef, his taquitoes are gently toasted in a warm cast iron skillet with just a hint of oil. Fresh salsa and queso are set out for dipping. Tasty home made carmel sauce with sliced fruit feeds the sweet tooth. The colder evenings lend themselves to popcorn and hot chocolate as study-break snacks. When he is not pestering them, that brother can be quite useful.
   Morning comes with hustle and bustle; we're out the door with jackets and jitters. We send them off with prayers and encouragement; they have prepared well, they can do this. After today, their college semester ends...but not their home studies. It will be another week before our homeschool breaks for the holidays. Even with that in mind, we will still celebrate the semester's end!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Congratulations, Simplyjen!

   Yesterday our little farmgirl and I attended the Montgomery County Master Gardeners' Banquet; a time of recognition for all who have participated in or completed service and study in the program. Simplyjen received a certificate of service and her Junior Master Gardener pin in recognition of her seventy two hours of service and training. A round of applause for all who served, all who completed the training, all who worked so hard to make the event happen. Special thanks goes out to all the gardeners and educators who dedicate their time teaching their community horticulture and water conservation. We are so proud of all of you...and of our girl. Congratulations, Simplyjen!

Job well done!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Farmhouse Cooking....A Great Dish for Your Holiday Gathering

   When my children were little, my father-in-law loved to have us over every chance he got; particularly Sunday afternoons. When the daylight started to fade and we started to think toward home, he would coerce my mother-in-law into making us his favorite snack food for us all- a Mexican Pizza.
   With all the kids gathered around the table, patiently waiting the tasty dish, laughter and teasing was always on order. Poppy, as he was affectionately called had an ornery sense of humor. (Seems our farm boy has inherited this.) Being fond of keeping it spicy, Nana would place peppers on only half of the dish and leave the rest milder for the kids. Memories were made around the table back in those far away days.
   My father-in-law has long since gone to Glory, but our farm boy loves to makes his seven layered dip - and always with fond memories of our times with Poppy. All around the table, Tostitos in hand, let the farm boy share his favorite recipe; a great dish for your holiday gathering.

Mexican Pizza (or Seven Layer Dip)

Large can of bean dip
small jar of salsa
one container of guacamole
small container of sour cream
shredded cheese
sliced jalapenos
round pizza pan

**I always make two.

   Start with the bean dip. Using a spoon or spatula, spread the bean dip on the bottom of the pizza pan.

   Once you have a nice foundation, spoon the salsa over the beans in a thin but even layer.

   Here is where it gets tricky (for me anyway). When adding the next guacamole and sour cream layers your goal is to have clean, distinct layers- not all smeared together. The tip my farm boy and mother-in-law give is to dot tiny spoonfuls all over the surface. Using feather light strokes, connect the dots to create a smooth layer.

   Cheese. Let me admit; this time I did not have the cheese we typically use (fine shredded, Mexican blend) so we used cheddar- still tasted wonderful! Gently sprinkle a healthy layer of cheese all over the top. For me, this is a life saver because I have typically made a mess of the sour cream and guacamole layer by now. Cheese hides a multitude of impatience!

   Last but not least, dot some sliced jalapenos around the top and you're finished. This is only six layers; some recipes call for sliced olives or chopped onion as the seventh layer. I do not use either one- it's just our preference.
   Serve this up with a healthy dose of friends and a few bags of corn chips (Tostidos Scoops are wonderful with this). Didn't that farm boy do a wonderful job with the layers?

   Let me say, we use a 15.5 inch disposable round pan when this dish is made and taken to a gathering; it's a great size, no washing, but it is flimsy. To transport- place a firm piece of cardboard or a regular pan underneath and cover with plastic wrap.
   We often use our own salsas and guacamole due to a cilantro allergy in our family, however I will tell you, the recipe calls for Pace picante sauce and Dean's guacamole dip. In making two pizzas, I generally leave one without jalapenos but keep a dish of them on the side.
   Whether you're gathering with friends, visiting with relatives, or having a house full of hungry teens Mexican Pizza is always a big hit.  Go make some memories around the table with this great dish for your holiday gathering.

simplychele and the farm boy
With loving memories of T. A. Scaife, better know as Poppy.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's Sunday.....

Baptist Faith & Message (2000)

XVI. Peace and War
   It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war.
   The true remedy for the war spirit is the gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love. Christian people throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 5:9,38-48;6:33;26:52; Luke 22:36,38; Romans 12:18-19;13:1-7;14:19; Hebrews 12:14; James 4:1-2.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday's Focus...A Crafternoon

   My focus this Friday (and Saturday, too) is to complete the quilting on this beautiful quilt. All of the block areas are complete, as well as the cloud boarder that surrounds the center blocks. What is left to be done is a running leaf motif that will trail along the remaining boarders. I'm so close!!
   Initially, I planned to machine quilt this particular quilt, however, it just didn't happen. When I ran a test quilt run the patterns were not coming out rite- I absolutely didn't like the way it looked. So, back to my personal preference; hand quilting.
  Once the quilting is complete, a printed dark binding will surround the edges framing in the whole quilt. The final touch is to add some tabs for hanging (as was requested by the quilt owner). Truly, I can't wait so see this pretty thing finished- it's beautiful.
   Enough chattering already, I have quilting to do!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday..The Ponderings of an Accidental Pastor's Wife

                            A Simple Testimony in an Unusual Place

   I didn't want to be there and I wasn't happy about it. My Saturdays are my time to start a little slower and work on the household chores that I didn't get to during the week. With a quilt near completion, this was going to be my time to really knock it out, but instead I found myself a place where I just had to be patient and wait. I was not impressed.
   Funny how God has plans for us- often plans to teach us a lesson we didn't think we needed. Lately, pondering the commercialization of the season and the blatant lack of respect for all things holy- I have been trying to see how to keep Christ in focus - and how to share Him during the celebration of His birth-how to simplify things and truly honor my Lord. So, looking back now, it is plain to see how I ended up on a bench at the college waiting for one of my teens on a Saturday.
   A young man sat by me, we have seen each other before and had simple conversations here and there about classes and thesis statements and such. Today I listened to him practice a speech, he asked me to give him some helpful hints for extending his time and sparking the listeners' attention. As I listened, I realized I was hearing a simple testimony; a view of holidays through the eyes of someone with a simple understanding and a family's simple purpose for celebrating.
   The first point that sparked my attention was his comment about "eating until we are full, because we don't really get to most of the year." He talked of "pretty white rice" and gumbo filled with "lots of meats that is special on Christmas." As he went on, his thoughts went to his grandmother who made sure they "minded good" and took them to church; of "wearing his gifts all day and playing with everyone". What really touched my heart was his last few statements. He told me that he needs to "do everything he can to make his Saviour Jesus happy on His birthday because He makes him happy all the other times." How precious.
   This young man is of simple understanding, yet his understanding is profound. He shared his faith and testimony unashamedly in plain speech that all could understand. In his closing statement he proclaimed that his Saviour Jesus was the real reason for celebrating." I couldn't have said it better myself...and I wouldn't. Instead of trying to help him "glam up" his speech, I encouraged him to share it the way it was...a revelation of his own heart and a glimpse into his private life.
   My drive home was a reflective one...anger melted away...the to-do list just didn't seem as important. In my own desire to simplify the holiday, I was complicating. God showed me the simplicity of it all with a simple testimony in an unusual place.


*Note, the young man met up with me after his speech class to tell me how good his speech went and that his professor loved it. His classmates also gave him words of praise. As he left, he handed me a handful of chocolate kisses and simply said, "Thank you for helping me."  Oh, no...thank you for helping me.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Road Trip

   Once again, the time came for our monthly trip to the feed co-op. About an hour and a half one way, this trip takes us a good part of a day- so we try to keep it a once a month event. Every time we take the half-day, we try to mix up the persons making the drive. This time the farm boy and I were the ones cleaning the truck, checking the map, and heading out.
   Road trips are a great time to just be with one of our teens. It seems conversation flows freely- no interruptions- and there are no siblings to comment or contradict. Simple, uninterrupted time together is rare and precious. Being the first time he and I make this trip together, I wondered what it would be like. Farm boys are so different than farm girls, aren't they?
   Armed with carefully chosen music, some travel snacks, and some of his school books, we set out on our afternoon adventure. Discussions about the parts of speech melted into favorite tunes and great movies. He shared survivals skills he had been reading about and all important information about hunting; optimal weather patterns, choosing a prime spot, and best shot scenarios. Then there were quiet moments when no words were needed at all.
   Dreams of the future were shared- those things in the heart longing to come to light. Hopes of future jobs and hobbies- what lifestyle he would like to lead...a trip he would love to take one day. Questions were asked about my own experiences hunting, fishing, camping and about my time in the military. Questions he had been wanting to ask, but just hadn't had opportunity for. He asked interesting "what ifs" - What if money was not an issue and you could travel anywhere? What if you could expand your farm? What will you do when you are no longer teaching me?
   As we passed the gate to home, it was bittersweet..our time together, uninterrupted, had come to an end and work had to be done. Truck unloaded, chores done, we made a light dinner before the girls came home. The return of chaos, the teasing and tempting of three teens. Hustle and bustle of stories about the day and the events of work. Life returned to normal- time will pass before we take this trip again,  but we will both remember the quite moments shared on our  road trip.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Educating...Adding a Sibling

   Pondering in my heart the days when our family was just beginning, my heart was drawn to the memories of blessed arrivals. Each of the children reacted differently to the idea of another sibling; one was elated, simply overjoyed at the thought of a brother or sister to love; the other was not so impressed. Each time a baby was announced in our family- it was a joyous celebration, and a time to educate.

   Sharing the news of an upcoming blessing was a time of joy and happiness; and it happened rather quickly for us. In our first five years of marriage, we had five babies. For me, it seemed a great responsibility to prepare the little ones for the next arrival. I wanted my toddlers to grow and develop a positive attitude and loving heart toward the new baby before the arrival. Guiding my toddlers toward a special relationship with this new baby began from the moment of announcement.
   Unfortunately for me, morning sickness was a plague that lasted nearly all nine months. My favorite memory during this time is my oldest following me to the bathroom and sitting in the cabinet - just wanting to be near me. After, she would bring me towels and blankets to help me and the baby feel better.
   The greatest difficulty for me was bringing a new one home. Trying to get enough rest, tend needs, and keep the siblings from feeling left out- this was exhausting. I tried to involve my children as much as possible  in the care and love of a new baby. My girls often brought puzzles or dolls to play with while I was nursing the baby. I would hold the baby in one arm, and play with the other...sometimes I can't believe what I accomplished!
   In every home some jealously will did in ours. Yet at the end of the day their true heart would be revealed. Each of my girls (who accepted a younger baby so differently) showed special heart for their younger siblings. When a baby was in the crib at night, my girls would slip out of their beds and lay down with their pillows and blankets on the floor near the baby crib. Eventually I put a toddler bed in the baby room and always found the girls there when I went for late night feedings.
   I realize now that while trying to educate my toddlers in loving a new family member, I also taught them how to nurture and care for others. They learned early the value of human life..that they were treasured and loved by their parents and by God. In this time, I was being be selfless, to multitask creatively, to be sensitive to other's feelings and needs. Adding a sibling is educating for each of us. Here are a few things I learned.
Points to Ponder When Adding a Sibling

1. Be positive. This is a joyous time and our attitude will be contagious. Share with your child in the love and preparation as much as possible. Be open to their questions and answer at their level.

2. Make time count. A little jealousy goes a long way; be sure to continue fostering your time and relationship with the children you already have..they still need you. After the arrival, continue to keep vital parts of your child's routine. Stability and security are so important.

3. Be open. Watch for those precious memories being made- treasure the bond developing in your family. Share in the bad days when they come and look forward to the better ones.

   Most importantly, remember- you are going to miss this. I know there are days when I do. The difficult days of sibling rivalry and sleepless nights will change and grow and then be gone. Treasure where you are because before you know it- they grow when you're not looking!



Monday, December 6, 2010

Manic Monday

Typhoon hiding while I clean

   So much to do and so far behind. Thank you for the well wishes while I was out; they meant so much to me. Now that I'm back on my feet it seems I have some catching up to do. My teens have been very busy trying to fill my shoes, now they have to return to their own busy routine. Here's our Manic Monday list:

1. Winterizing the garden. Goodness! Where else but southeast Texas can you have temperatures in the eighties and the twenties in the same week? Time to set an extra layer of mulch around the cole crops and put the herbs in the greenhouse.

2. Barn maintenance. Messy, messy little beasties. Muck and scrub before the temps plummet tonight.

3. Dog houses. One dog loves blankets, the other hates them. This should be interesting.

4. Pipes. I cover just because I have had them burst before and I don't care to do that again!

5. Drain those hoses- they split even in a slight freeze- very frustrating.

6. Housework- not my favorite. I'd much rather muck the barn and weed the garden, but, sometimes we have to just do the things we don't like.

   I did get a head start over the weekend (after starting to feel much better). The farm boy and I were working pretty hard between errands on Saturday. Jen did pot some of the herbs for the greenhouse before heading off to Leap of Faith. Nik is barn-sitting, so she didn't have and extra hand to lend (busy girl). My husband has been working overtime so much, he needs a good rest- not a to-do list!
   Once we get this big job done, winter farm maintenance will  not so hard- leaving time for the good stuff. I must say, I'm ready to complete a few quilts, sip warm tea, and play games beside the fireplace.
   So, Lord, let me get my chores caught up and then....bring on the chill!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

It Is Sunday....

Baptist Faith & Message (2000)

XV. The Christian and the Social Order

        All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every from of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, they needy, the abused, the aged, they helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.

Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 10:12;27:17; Psalm 101:5; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 5:13-16,43-48;22:36-40;25:35; Mark 1:29-34;2:3;10:21; Luke 4:18-21;1027-37;20:25; John 15:12;17:15; Romans 12-14; I Corinthians 5:9-10;6:1-7;7:20-24;10:23-11:1 Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:12-17; I Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27;2:8.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Out with a Migraine

   Taking a day of rest. Yesterday I finally succumb to a migraine I had been wresting against for several days. Migraines have been a part of my life since childhood, and have been more manageable since a wonderful neurologist helped me with a diet and exercise routine. Even so, they occasionally take their place in my life. While I do not take prescription preventatives or inhibitors, they are generally not as bad as they once were- sometimes lasting several days (once had one for several weeks).
   Taking some time for quite, dimly lit, peaceful time while recovery takes place. See you in a few days.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Story of My Hair

   People often ask me about my hair, or more specifically, the length of it. Some have assumed my hair is very long due to religious reasons, others are determined there must be a strange and interesting purpose for it. Let me share with you the story of my very long hair.
   I have always had long hair (at least shoulder length). My father was quite partial to long hair on his girls. During my years in military service I managed to keep my hair long (middle of my back) wearing it in a tucked-in french braid every single day. When I married, my husband loved my long hair. Only a few times did I ever branch out to a shorter-than-shoulder-length cut, but it didn't last.
   About thirteen years ago, my mother was diagnosed with advanced lupus, treatment being a mild form of chemotherapy. Concern over her condition also held a concern for hair loss. Our hair colors were similar enough that I decided if she lost her hair, mine would be cut to make a wig for her. At the time, my hair was lower back length. My promise was to not cut my hair- then if she needed it, there would be plenty for the both of us.
   Time passed and the treatments subsided; my mother never lost her hair. I had still not cut mine. My husband became rather attached to the very long hair I was wearing- we decided to keep it. As our tradition has been, my hair is most often seen braided or pinned up on my head..keeping the true length somewhat a mystery. This private thing, special to him alone, has become a sweet secret between the two of us.
   Each time my hair gets well past the sitting-on-it stage, I cut it. Keeping near the mid to lower back length, we share it with programs that make wigs for children undergoing chemotherapy. It seems the time for this is nearing once again.
   I do not find my very long hair inconvenient or hard to manage; it is not heavy. So for the many people who stop me here and there, I have taken the time to share the simple story of my hair.


A Week of Finals

whipping up some study food
   It is that time again; finals. Both our girls take classes at our local county college- two classes each. This week they are taking finals to end out the semester.
   Laptops and notebooks, sticky notes and highlighters, this is the stuff our week (and past weekend) were made of. The farmboy and I take turns assisting them as they review terms and definitions, maps and cooridnates, levels of governemnt and types of communication. If we all work together, the work goes faster!

Congratulations, Simplyjen!

Job well done!

   Our little farm girl and I attended the Montgomery County Master Gardener Banquet yesterday. Simplyjen was recognized for her many hours of service and dedication. Awarded a certificate and Junior Master Gardener pin, she lit up the day with her sweet charm and her vibrant smile. We are very proud of you, girl. Congratulations!

simplychele and simplyjen