Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Joy in the Journey

      For the last couple weeks, I've had on my mind to write a post about my own personal journey in the last year.  Somehow, time goes by, I don't have time to sit down and think on it, and then a few weeks have passed by.  I  suppose I've not wanted to write something, because I wanted to make sure all my thoughts were together before I started, so I didn't miss something.  Since I've been working in the garden so much lately, I've gathered lots of thoughts while I work.

      Let's start with the fact that I'm a busy mom.  I home school 5 children, keep the 6th child out of everyone's stuff and the cupboards, am a housewife who tries to prepare healthy meals and keep everyone in clean clothes, I'm the doctor, the cleaning lady, the teacher, the gardener, the cow midwife for the farmer, the encourager, the tear wiper, the bottom wiper, the prayer warrior, the discipliner, the singer, the plan maker with friends and family, and the one who keeps all things organized around here.  At times it feels like a heavy task and other times it feels like I couldn't possibly add one more thing to my list.

      I'm sure if you're a mom, you can relate to the above, whether your life matches up perfectly with mine or not.  Being a mom is just plain a tough job. This year during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, I was writing out what sins I needed cleansed from and what I could do to replace and clean up those areas and the verses that spoke to my heart during the week long feast (this is a family tradition that we do every year).  As I was looking over my paper from last year, I realized that I had written out a verse about JOY.  It hit me that last year, I was struggling with not having joy in my life.  As I sat there and thought about it, I rejoiced in the fact that I felt like joy had been restored into my life.  It's so easy as a mom to get bogged down with life, children, activities, and expectations of others, that joy can slip right out of the heart and float off into the atmosphere without one even noticing it.
      What have I done that's changed that?  I still do all the things listed above, so how did that change for me?  I began being grateful for the big things, the little things, and even the things that may not have happened that God was sparing me from.  Gratitude filled my heart and I began focusing on that more.  It's still a journey to keep a thankful heart about all things, but baby steps will accomplish a huge heart change when practiced consistently.  The other thing I began doing was praying out loud with fervent, intentional, and diligent prayers.  I wasn't interested in the religious wording or sounding holy and perfect.  I began crying out to the Father in prayer with a raw and exposed heart, longing for Him to hear me and expecting Him to answer how He saw best.  This changed me even more.  There is something so special about taking time to communicate to the Master of the Universe with expectations of change.  I've seen more prayers answered since pouring my heart out to Him, than I have in a long time.  Just be real.

      Over winter we spent a couple weeks in Florida, feeling the warm sun and rejuvenating our minds to come home.  I was reading Lisa Bevere's book Lioness Arising, and had a total transformation of thinking.  Her book focuses on women and becoming who we are to be in comparison to a lioness.  By the end of the book, I knew I needed to get out of my comfort zone and reach out to women.  You may not know me if you're reading this, or you may have known me for 1 year or 15 years.  I've never been one to lead conversations or even care about throwing in my input.  I'm usually quite content to just sit and listen to everyone else talk.  I knew that God wanted me to get out of that thinking and become who HE wants me to be, so I can be of use to Him.

      Don't get me wrong, a quiet person can be used for His kingdom, but He wanted more of me.  He wanted me to ditch what and who I thought I was and become a clay vessel that He molded me into.  A vessel that could give food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, and hope to the lost.  How could I do that if I always just relied on my husband to carry conversations?  How could I do that if I was more likely to sit in the corner with my children, so I didn't have to engage with others?  How could I do that if I was unwilling to go places, afraid to talk to people that I could tell needed a listening ear, and afraid to say words that needed said to help someone heal?

      Fear can so easily overtake a person in many ways.  It can cause you to worry about what others think or say about you.  It can cause you to sit back and avoid conversations so you aren't uncomfortable.  It can cause you to think that you have nothing to give and that you  just aren't the type of person who can be a friend or speak life into someone.  Fear lies.  Fear causes a person to think that they can't do something.  Fear molds a person into what it wants them to be- a scaredy cat.

      In all of my searching and growing, I've realized that fear is just a tool of the enemy.  It's a tool to make me believe that I can't get out and be a light.  It's a tool that makes me think that I'm of no use to the lady sitting in the corner with her children.  It's a tool that has drug many women down in making them think that they just aren't the sociable type.  If you thought you could get out and be a light, you could minister to that lonely woman in the corner with all the children crawling on her, and that you are sociable and can encourage many people with your words and actions, fear would be stomped out.  You could live a whole and complete life, serving, doing, speaking, and accomplishing great things in the lives of those hurting.

      When I think about what He has called us to do here on earth, it's not sit in my corner and mope about my tired, busy mama life.  It's get up, go to, speak up, walk through, reach out, and pray with those who need a little hope in their life.  If you feel like you just can't be sociable and engaging, take a look at what you might be afraid of.  Take a look at what God created us for.  Take a look at the world around you and see how much hurt there is.  Even if you just step over to that lonely mama in the corner, you will have taken the first step in not letting fear rule your life.  Be encouraged sister that HE has greater  plans for you to overcome your fear and minister to those around you.  Be encouraged that HE wants you to live a whole and complete life not in the corner, but in the center of the room, praying over everyone that fills the corners. :)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

First Calf on the Farm

We've been waiting for the day that we would have some new little ones to welcome on the farm.  last Tuesday was the big day!  We knew the day was getting closer, but we weren't really sure how close.  We know of a couple signs now to look for when the heifer is within a day or two of having a calf.  The children had a couple friends staying with us which made it all the more exciting that we got to share the moment with them.  The only sad thing was that farmer Jon missed it all.  He was so sad about it but was afraid he might have been a nervous papa in wait if he would've been here.  Instead, I got to keep track of the mother and how she was progressing, report in to the farmer, and keep myself from being nervous.  I kept her covered in prayer that all would go well and she'd deliver naturally without any complications.  I sure was thankful when it was all over with and everything turned out perfectly.
We were sitting at the table working on school when Benaiah said, "Mom, I think something is coming out of the cow".  Sure enough, I looked out and quickly put on my shoes and coat to go out and get a closer look.  Looked like things were just starting from the outside appearance, but I have a feeling she was already having contractions and working on it before we could tell.  
We kept at our daily routine, but I went to the window often to check on her.  We were all so thankful that she chose to be in the closest grazing area to the house, which happens to be on the side with easy viewing windows.  After awhile the girls came downstairs (they were watching from their bedroom window) and said, "she is laying down and can't keep her legs together".  Okay, I'll check.  Then Jonathon's brother stopped on his way back to work to let us know we had a baby coming.  I looked out the window and sure enough.  Bundle up children, let's go!
The older children and one of their friends joined me and out we went to watch the happenings.  It looked quite gross and the girls weren't real sure of it all, but what an amazing feeling to watch the birth of our first calf.  I kept praying for her and quietly coached her as I would a human mama in labor.  :)   At this point, the other cows were still in the area, but they were a bit away from her and grazing without taking notice of what was going on with her.   

 This is how we found her.  Quite uncomfortable. 

 Right after we were all out there and looking, she gave a good push and out baby came halfway.

 What a view, right?  :)

 Baby stayed in that position for awhile, mama sat down on her hind quarters, then stood right up and out baby came.  

 Immediately, the other cows stopped grazing, looked over at her and after a 2 second pause from all of them, they all walked over to her.  She was busy cleaning baby up, but the other cows formed a  circle around her and looked at the new arrival for a good bit before they walked away and continued grazing.

 Checking out the new member of the family.

We made sure baby nursed and got up and walked around before we went in.  It took some time, but eventually all was fine and mama proved to be a good mama.

After Farmer Jon got home, he met me out by the fence to see the new little BOY.  He's a handsome little guy and full of spunk.  The first couple days he did a lot of sleeping, which made us wonder if he was dead or alive.  BUT he is quite alive and the cutest little thing.
Day two.  
 6 days old
 Isn't he just so cute?
He's going to be a strong, young steer someday.

Journeys on the farm continue, and we feel blessed to be a part of the rebuilding of the Bovee Farm.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Field Trip x 2- Bluebirds and Kids N Stuff Museum

This time of year, we are all done with having to sit inside and do school work.  I usually start the year out saying we'll do a field trip every month, but somehow, during those winter months, I just don't want to get out and do anything.  

With spring in the air, I decided we needed to get out, and I was so thankful for our good friend, Kathy Troyer who suggest we visit her aunt's house to observe the bluebirds.  That sounded like a fantastic field trip to me!

Later in the week, we had already made plans with other friends to meet up at a children's museum in Michigan, so the children could hang out and learn something all at the same time.  Kids n Stuff children's museum is a small place in a small town, but the children had so much fun exploring, using their imaginations, and doing some brain work with some of the displays.

 The grocery store area looked like a hurricane went through, so we went through and organized the shelves and put away everything that was on the floor.  The store was spotless when we were done.  Next time I'll let them actually play in the area, using their checkout lanes, scanners and registers with fake money.  It was all so fun!  :)

 It was fun to have Kinslee along for the day.

 The two girls had so much fun.

 This was an air wall that moved pom poms through tubes when the air was on.  They had fun watching them go through and catching them when they came out.  

 Giant Lite Brite.

 Saphi loved the farm area.  She fed the animals several times.

 Fun doing acrobats.

 Josiah spent a lot of time on this wall figuring out how to make a path for the ball to get to the bottom.  Then some girl came and wrecked his creation.  :)

We ended the day with a live performance on stage.  

 Kinslee and I opened the curtain.

And the grand finale, a puppet show. 

There were some areas we didn't even get to explore, so they want to go back.  Every month they have a free day, so we were glad to take advantage of it without it costing us anything.  We'll plan to go again and finish what we didn't see.  If anything, it was a good time for the children to reconnect with their buddies from Michigan and learn a little differently than doing book work.