Wednesday, December 07, 2016

We Bought a Farm: New Piglets!

Yesterday our big brown mom "Cinnamon" gave birth to six beautiful piglets. This gives us numbers 10-15 on our farm. These are more of a "pure" breed so we may sell some of these. They were in fantastic shape and are doing just brilliantly!

First one born!

One of our other moms nursing her eight babies.

Briana got this photo of Mom in labor and already nursing some of the piglets.

You can see the one behind her that JUST came out.

She's a good Mama. We can't even tell which ones are boys and girls because she doesn't want us near those babies!

John grabbed a few videos too. You can check them out here. These were all prior to the birth occurring:

Wee-wind Wednesday

A great flashback to the doggie we loved so much. Man we miss him!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Review: Bedtime Read and Rhyme Bible Stories

Bedtime Read and Rhyme Bible Stories by Bonnie Rickner Jensen offers more than 90 stories from the Old and New Testaments. Each are told in a beautiful rhyming verse and then an additional little Bedtime Prayer to help young readers grasp and apply each message. 

This is a hardcover book with amazing illustrations by Robert Dunn. The pages are colorful and captivating. 

To share just one of the stories, on page 81 is the story of "Samuel, God's Good Listener". The scripture reference is included and then the rhyme is presented:

Hannah loved Samuel
With all of her heart.
She knew he was chosen 
By God from the start.

So while he was only,
A very young boy,
He went to serve God,
And it gave Hannah joy!

The poem continues on and then the prayer is presented: Dear God, thank You for giving me the Bible to read. It's filled with Your words for me!

This book is wonderful! A strong review from me!

Tribe Life Tuesday: The Joy of Disappointment

Disappointment is the worst best friend you’ll ever have. When invited, she shows up and fills up all the empty space and likes to make herself the center of attention. She always comes at the most inopportune times and brings uninvited guests. She always comes with an ulterior agenda and you quickly realize there is more to her arrival than what you see on the surface.

In June of 2015 I faced one of my most dreaded fears. (“Most dreaded” may be a little dramatic, but that’s how I felt at the time.) For many years our tribe was comprised of 2 parents, 4 children, and one very old dog. Now, our tribe has grown to 2 parents, grandparents of 7, 7 children (spouses included), and many dogs old and young across 3 different homes. At the time, my sister had 5 kids and I loved being their aunt. (Being able to have a blast with kids and then send them home is the best!) Growth is a beautiful sign of health.

But what happens when grief and joy collide? That June, Joe and I were in our 7th year of marriage (meaning we were on year 7 of barrenness), and after having tried numerous solutions, we were tired, disappointed, and moving on with life. We had put the pursuit of children on the back burner. I had thrown myself into work and the pursuit of personal goals to take my mind off my gaping wound.
Then, one day, the glass bubble I was hiding in -- shattered.

It was quite late in the evening and I had received a phone call from my brother who is about 3 years younger than me. He and his wife had been married for just under a year and they called to tell us that they were pregnant. I will never forget the grief I felt in that moment. My only response was to fall face forward into my bed and let out the sorrow. I felt ALONE, because in that moment there was not one word in any known language that could comfort the pain that was surging through my heart. On top of that pain, I felt guilt, as if I deserved the “Worst Sister Ever” Award for feeling such sorrow in that moment. It wasn’t that I was not happy for them -- it was that their joy had just rubbed salt in my already very open wound. At that time I had no capacity to feel happiness.

Like I said earlier, I had dreaded that day, because I knew it would come. My younger brother having a child before me seemed so out of order and even unnatural. It is one thing for my older sister to start having children before me -- but not my younger brother. Why did I care so much and why was I so hung up on this? After MUCH processing, the answer became clear: this pregnancy undeniably, unintentionally, and undoubtedly exposed our lack and the barrenness we faced. And with that, it started a long series of tumultuous roads to journey on. The duality of sorrow and joy was a new experience for us. We figured it out quite slowly and graciously. During this time everyone was allowed the space they needed.

Here’s a journal entry from that time:

6/15/15 - To have to sit and stare at the very thing that I have begged God for, something that I have desired with all of my heart -- is unbearable. And then to have God give my brother that something I’ve wanted for so long … It got real. This is HARD!

I was disappointed in myself, in God, in my brother; I was broken and in pain and felt completely overlooked. Oh how easy it would have been to sit there for longer than I should have! That’s all I wanted to do…

…But I didn’t. The next hard part was letting one of my dearest friends and fellow triber into my pain and giving her permission to speak freely and honestly! Everyone needs at least one of these tribemates. She cried hard with me, sat in my pain patiently, and then, after a while, proceeded to say, “This is the refiners-fire sh*t, where it burns and bends and blisters. And we can go on living a monotone life and you will be blessed there, or you could fight through this hard season. Ask God what He wants you to learn here.”

After spending time asking God what he wanted me to learn, he showed me that this whole journey is about who I am becoming in the process. An important question I learned to ask myself is: “Is the person I want to become lining up with the person I am right now?” Some of these present moments and hardships are for future success stories.

If you are facing pain or struggle, if you are overwhelmed or hurting, if you are questioning all things or even just one thing--run to your tribe, and let them love you through. You are in the refiners-fire sh*t, where excess and unnecessary things are being burned, bent, and blistered off of you. You can fight through this season, just as I have fought through mine. I encourage you, like my friend encouraged me: Ask God what He wants you to learn here. Then, take time to listen, share, and process with your tribe.

See You Next Tuesday!


Monday, December 05, 2016

The First birthday party I sat down for since I became a mom

I have attended a LOT of kids birthday parties -- both before and after I had kids. 

However, one thing is for certain, once I had children, those birthday parties became ... well ... work.

Here's the reason. First I had two baby boys nearly at the same time. You can't take two babies to a party and expect to chill out.

And then I had Abigail who was SO shy that in order for her to participate I had to participate with her. Until she turned five, Abigail required me to be present with her every single second.

But in the last year, Abigail has come out of her shell. She is so incredibly different now. And so about two weeks ago, I was able to attend our friend Hazel's third birthday and sit and WATCH the party. I even checked Facebook a few times during the party. I was actually sort of just RELAXING!

Here are a few snaps from the event:

Isaac was still in his cast, but that didn't stop him from playing. The party was at a local gymnastics place where you could play on the equipment and then have cake and food afterwards!

My once little shy girl playing WITHOUT ME!

And of course Hannah has never really needed me. She ran off on her own in just a few seconds. 

This is Kristin. She attends our homeschool co-op and our girls go to ballet together. She is becoming a very good friend to me, and is just a beautiful Christian gal.

My four kids! All just playing WITHOUT ME!

Look at this little gal just playing!!


The party crew. The birthday girl is sitting next to the little boy in striped pajamas on the front row. (It was a "pajama party."

New Sponsor

We have a new sponsor on our "Sponsor Page." My sister-in-law Gabbi is donating a portion of her Rodan and Fields income to Because of Isaac. Please click here to visit our sponsor page! Just mention BOI when ordering, and our organization will get a percentage of purchase price!

Are you interested in becoming a sponsor for Because of Isaac? Here's how it works! I help you advertise your company here on my Blog. In exchange, I list you on my sponsor page and you pledge a certain percentage of any sale to our organization. Send me an email at if you are interested!

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Sunday Sermon

We Bought a Farm: Bauernhof Kitsteiner daily videos (VLOG) UPDATED!!!

JB has started a daily video of life on the farm. I've been told this is called a VLOG. We will be doing one of these almost everyday so stay tuned!

May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
  • Episode 36 (An animal update: sheep, pigs, ducks, and geese)
  • Episode 37 (New mobile shelter for sheep and pigs)
  • Episode 38 (Feeding fermented grains to the pigs and sheep)
  • Episode 39 (Abigail feeding ducks)
  • Episode 40 (Laying chicks arrive!)
  • Episode 41 (166 new chicken sin our brooder: 101 broiler and 65 egg layers)
September 2015
October 2015
  • Episode 44 (Repairing degraded land using sheep, pigs, and chicken)
  • Episode 45 (Repairing Arrowhead Pond)
November 2015
  • Episode 46 (Making chicken stock)
  • Episode 47 (Our 9 week old Cornish Rock Cross chickens are ready for processing!)
  • Episode 48 (Processing day for the broiler chickens)
  • Episode 49 (The scalder and plucker in action)
  • Episode 50 (Finishing a long day of processing chickens)
  • Episode 51 (An update on, and closer look at, our layer chickens.)
  • Episode 52 (Introducing a ram to our ewes)
  • Episode 53 (Pig update)
  • Episode 54 (Using sheep against brambles)
  • Episode 55 (Our portable pig/sheep shelter)
  • Episode 56 (Pasture improvement with sheep, pigs, and chickens)
December 2015
  • Episode 57 (Introducing 3 new pigs to the farm!)
  • Episode 58 (Combining the geese and ducks into one family)
  • Episode 59 (A video Grampa shot showing the overflow from our pond after a long, hard rain. If we had not fixed the damn wall, we may have lost the pond. The repair was just in time.)
  • Episode 60 (Another video shot by Grampa after a long, hard rain. This video shows our sill working as designed when the volume exceeded the capacity of our main drain.)
  • Episode 61 (Sheep playing follow the leader!)
  • Episode 62 (Flooding of the duck and goose paddock.)
  • Episode 63 (The geese and ducks enjoying the flooded paddock.)
  • Episode 64 (A pond in need of repair. Getting dangerously close to some big problems.)
  • Episode 65 (Quick fix of our pond in danger.)
  • Episode 66 (More water management issues -- A cut back erosion channel in a valley.)
  • Episode 67 (Feeding fermented grains to our sheep and pigs.)
  • Episode 68 (Our birds sleeping after having their wings clipped.)
  • Episode 69 (Dead ducks! Ugh!)
January 2016
February 2016
  • Episode 72 (Checking for eggs at our new EggMobile) 
March 2016
April 2016
  • Episode 77 (Twins! The first lambs born on the farm!)
  • Episode 78 (The first lambs on the farm, enjoying Spring on the first day of life!)
  • Episode 79 (Four geese lost in one night. One goose sitting on a nest.)
  • Episode 80 (Spring lamb update.)
  • Episode 81 (Tree planting preparation.)
  • Episode 82 (Tree planting preparation, Part 2.)
  • Episode 83 (Getting our first tress in the ground!)
  • Episode 84 (Heeling in some of our bare-root trees that we couldn't plan right away.)
May 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
  • Episode 107 (Moving the Egg Mobile means we need to retrain the flock)
  • Episode 108 (Maximilian Sunflowers popping up all over the farm)
  • Episode 109 (Getting started on our garden ... finally!)
  • Episode 110 (Our mobile livestock shade shelters)
  • Episode 111 (Spiderwebs as a marker of pasture biodiversity and regeneration)
  • Episode 112 (Red-Winged Blackbird chasing a Red-Tailed Hawk)
  • Episode 113 (Our current livestock watering system using 275-gallon IBC totes)
John's Farm/Permaculture Blog Posts
To read all of my past posts about our farm, click here. 

Sunday Sermon

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Saturday Smiles: "Auntie" Bri babysits

My cousin Briana (She is actually my cousin Ryan's wife!) came into town to visit us for the week. Lucky here, the first morning she was here, I had to take Abigail to ballet and she was left in charge -- fresh off the boat! She took a few pictures of Hannah in all her glory!

Here's Hannah hiding in "Hide-n-Seek"

And here she is hiding until she realized that she could see the movie the boys were watching downstairs through the mirror on the wall. So she's hiding but watching a movie at the same time.

And here she is when Auntie Bri told her that she had to sit in the kitchen while she ate. Little Miss Hannah decided she would sit "technically" in the kitchen while "technically" doing it her way at the same time!

And here's a quick pick of Abigail before we left for ballet that morning. She is looking so old and is starting to put together some "stylish" outfits.