Thursday, January 19, 2017

Hannah answers 14 questions

I decided to give each of my kids a 14-question quiz I have seen floating around Facebook. I gave this to Hannah last November. I decided to give them to her again. You ask your kids a question and record their exact response. Hannah's CRACKED ME UP! Here are her most recent responses (and the ones from last year follow.)

January 2017

1. What is something I always say to you?

I love you.

2. What makes me happy?
Givin' hugs.

3. What makes me sad?
Without hugs.

4. How do I make you laugh?
I don't know. Being silly.

5. What was I like as a child?

6. How old am I?

7. How tall am I?
8 inches.

8. What is my favorite thing to do?

9. What do I do when you're not around?
Just sit on the couch.

10. What am I really good at?

11. What am I not very good at?
Not giving hugs.

12. What do I do for a job?
Running with the puppies.

13.What is my favorite favorite food?

14. What do you enjoy doing with me?

Play up in my room.


November, 2016
1. What is something I always say to you?
A dinosaur.

2. What makes me happy?

3. What makes me sad?
I can't do it. Mommy you do it. (I have no idea what she meant by this.)

4. How do I make you laugh?
Ah ha ha ha. That's laughing.

5. What was I like as a child?
Like a baby. (I thought this was pretty introspective.)

6. How old am I?
Two. I'm two. And you are four.

7. How tall am I?

8. What is my favorite thing to do?
Pee. You used to pee on the potty. (I actually have no idea where this came from whatsoever.)

9. What do I do when you're not around?
Go at Gama's house. It was raining. And we have to have a rainbow. (Hannah calls umbrellas rainbows.) But I have no idea why she said I go to Grama's and why I go during the rain.

10. What am I really good at?
A dinosaur.

11. What am I not very good at?
A dinosaur.

12. What do I do for a job?
A dinosaur.

13.What is my favorite favorite food?
Sugar. (This is hilarious.)

14. What do you enjoy doing with me?
Throw you in the air. (I think she meant this the other way around.)

We Bought a Farm: Mangalica Pigs

We work very hard on our farm to stay on budget. I have blogged previously about how we utilize Dave Ramsay's envelope system electronically. So what do you do when your husband finds two incredibly rare pigs on a farm just an hour away, and he wants to buy them, and your farm "envelope" is broke?

After a lot of discussion about these pigs it was decided that if JB wanted to get one, he should do it one "his own dime." This means his blow money. Each of us gets a small amount of money each month that is ours to spend on whatever we like. I usually spend mine on snacks and totally unimportant things. JB decided to spend his on a pig.

Okay, well, two pigs. (He usually wants to buy his pigs in pairs so that if something happens to one of them, he still has a back-up.)

This morning JB decided to make the drive to Knoxville. He was going to do a Costco run too, and he offered to take all four kiddos with him so I could have the house to myself for the morning. (Okay so we still have in-laws and WWOOFers around, but generally the house is all mine.)

He came home with a lot of groceries.

And these two Mangalica pigs. 

Yes, the really are wooly.

No, we did not need them.

But boy is it fun to see my husband giddy. He really has a list a mile long of animals and plants he has dreamed of. And we can't afford to buy even a fraction of them. But the opportunity for him to get something that has been on his "dream sheet" is so fun!

(And having the house to myself? Equally awesome!)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

We Bought a Farm: Feeding Ten

Tonight, as I prepared dinner for ten people, I thought to myself:

Wait a minute. 

This is my new normal.

With Grampa and Grama eating with us and anywhere from 1-3 WWOOFers at a time, that brings our eating total to anywhere from 9-11 on any given night. This has been going on for many months, and while Mom and I share the cooking load, when it is my turn, I regularly make a dinner that feeds that many people.

When did this become my new normal?

When we moved back to the States in 2014, I did absolutely zero cooking. Unless you counted a frozen pizza, popcorn shrimp, or pancakes for dinner, my husband was the only cook in our home. He got home from work, and he cooked dinner.


But then he started working in an ER and his shifts are from 7am-7pm or 7p-7am, and I realized we had to make a change. So I started cooking with Blue Apron and learned to cook, and now I am busting out meals regularly that are for nearly a dozen people.

Again: #Ican'tbelievethisismylife


I am in shock nearly daily at who I am here on this farm. This morning I helped Jacob and Grampa return our escaped pigs to their home. My boots were caked in mud, and my pants smeared with dirt. I coached our WWOOFer through getting blood out of his pants. I texted with someone about buying a piglet. I discussed our feed delivery. And then I cooked dinner for ten people.


Utilizing a Stop Day

I am constantly striving for peace in my life, and this article (linked below) is just another way we can seek that. Yes I live on a farm. Yes we are seeking to live the slow life. But wanting to do that and actually doing that isn't so simple. Just because we have chosen the "slow life" does not mean that I don't face the same battles that you face living a life in suburbia. How do we say no to the right things and yes to the right things? How do I not overcommit myself? How do I take enough breaks and enough deep breaths? 

I say this to say that even though I appear to have this "peaceful" life on a farm in the middle of the country, my challenges are the same as your's. We all have to work hard to slow down and enjoy the life we live. 

"But a wise woman also understands that a worker bee is not a workaholic, but that play, rest, and restorative sleep are vital for living a healthy, productive, and balanced life. Advancements in technology have made many of the tasks that the Proverbs 31 woman was credited as accomplishing able to be tackled today with far greater ease – sometimes at the push of a button."

To read this article in its entirety, click here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tribe Life Tuesday: The View from the Selfie Stick

A weekly post from my awesome friend Carrie ~ 
sharing her awesome life and her desire to have community while doing it!

I am currently in Washington, D.C., one of my favorite places on the planet. My heart explodes with joy and gratitude and uncontrollable, uncontainable excitement each time I arrive in this city. It also grieves me every time I have leave, but that’s a conversation for another day. Needless to say, I am grateful for all of the above.

Whenever you’re in a new city or on an adventure of some sort, selfies are a must! I am a friend of selfies and I am embracing this selfie movement---if that’s a thing. But I’d like to invite you into something deeper than just a photo of yourself that you post online. I want to invite you into the me conversation, the selfie conversation, into a new view: the reflective view. When we press that reverse icon on our phones the lens changes directions. The current picture goes from the view ahead to the reflective view. When you press that button, what do you see?
Who is that beauty? Or that stud? 
It’s you!!! 
Definitely an amazing human!
Let’s press deeper. Who is that person? Are they bold? Timid? Kind? Grumpy? What do you love about them? What are they working to get better at? Are you proud of that person? These are all questions I’m asking myself, followed by an onslaught of others. This is what I’ve found in this reflective view: I’m desperately looking to live a full, yet streamlined life (kind of an oxymoron, I know). I long to live a life that is fueled by intentionality, justice, and service. A life that gives generously, fights hard, and rests well. I don’t see the blemishes but rather the unfiltered beauty of the moment.
While switching to the reflective view is the first step, we all know that positioning and the right filter is key to any good selfie.
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” 
Thomas Jefferson

Know where you stand. What are your non-negotiables? We don’t have to have a big, long list, but what are those few principles that transcend all else? Make those a constant. Give everything else grace.
We control our filter. Choose to filter through joy (much easier said than done; believe me, I know.) Broken hearts and broken spirits lead to muddy filters. If your filter has been dirtied, find your tribe, let them in, let them love you back to life and back to seeing through a clear filter.
Now about me:
I have found myself in this real struggle to “face myself”. In recent weeks, I’ve been grappling with the reflective view. It sometimes feels unbearable, and it is quite uncomfortable. It’s in those moments of discomfort when I look for something, anything, to busy myself with. At first I give into my desire to hide from the reflective view that requires me to dig deep. But then I reach out. I reach for the tribe and they embrace me and my unfiltered mess. They gently address the mess, “Carrie, what are you running from? Let’s talk,” they say. And if I’m not quite ready, they patiently wait.
So here I am, facing myself, choosing to switch to the reflective view. I’m earnestly looking for answers to the questions I’m asking. I breathe deeply to calm my heart and uncomfortably embrace the moment.
Thank you for reading!

See you next Tuesday!

Tuesday Truth

We Bought a Farm: I hope I never get used to this

JB and his dad and one of our WWOOFers, Tymen, just headed out to put down one of our pigs. It was this pig's time. But I hate it. I hate them getting the four-wheeler and getting the gun and getting on the four-wheeler and the whole thing.

I appreciate what we are doing. I appreciate that we want to eat meat and want to eat meat raised ethically and appropriately. We want to be in touch with our food. We want to understand that eating meat is not to be taken lightly. It makes me even more uncomfortable to eat any meat that isn't raised the way we want it raised.

But I just wish I could snap my fingers and it was packaged in our freezer. Not my favorite days. :(

Sleeping Beauty

Abigail is going to be in her ballet company's production of Sleeping Beauty. Originally, Hannah was going to be in too, but dear Hannah and I have decided to wait until she is old enough to ask to be in ballet and promise she wants to behave well before we do it. So we'll wait another year with her at least. My friend Kristin is the official "photographer". Here are some photos she has posted:

The heat in the theatre was broken for two rehearsals so we practiced in our winter coat.

Abigail is in three scenes. She is a blue bird. There she is in the back row!

Our local paper advertising the show.

This picture is so Abigail. She is quite serious about her ballet! :)

Getting some instructions from Ms. Lori Ann before the start of a rehearsal. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

We Bought a Farm: Yoder's

One of my favorite things about living where we live, is living close to our Amish Market: Yoder's. We get all of our bread and jam there, and will often get a deli sandwich or a snack. We currently have a Dutch WWOOFER here who is a big bread eater, so I ran out to get some more bread and took Hannah with me. 

I have decided that I am not going to fight with Hannah on her clothes. As long as she is dressed for the weather and is modest enough, I am good with it. She changes clothes many, many times a day. I have decided that this is good for her. She is better than her siblings at putting clothes right-side in or buttoning or zipping her clothes. It is a bit frustrating when I go up to her room at the end of the day and discover piles and piles of clothing, but I try to remind myself that this is her "hobby" and fun thing. 

For example, here is a photo the babysitter sent me. She told me this was outfit change number five:

Every day is an adventure to figure out what she is going to wear. Here was her attire for Yoder's when she and I went today:

Enjoy this little video of my Hannah girl. It very accurately captures her personality. Many people commented on her clothes while we were out, and I just say: "She's her own woman." That she is.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

When you forget how AWESOME America can be!

There are things I feel I sort of got behind on while I lived overseas for four years. Things that emerged while I was there (like smart phones!) or things I just forgot about. 

Last week, I took my kids to Toys "R" Us. They had each received a gift certificate to pick out one item for Christmas from their Uncle Rob and his soon-to-be-wife Sherrie. I didn't realize, until we walked in, that with the exception of Isaac (who was old enough to remember the store), my other three kiddos had no idea what a Toys "R" Us was. As we drove the forty-five minutes to the store, they asked me things like "Are there more toys than at Walmart?" "Is it big?" "How can it be only toys?"

I flashed back to the first time I took my kiddos into Target after returning from overseas. The people around us were cracking up as my kiddos exclaimed things like the following:
  • "Mommy! Everything on the computer is in this store!"
  • "Look at all the toothbrushes Mommy!"
  • "Mommy here's another aisle of toys!"

The way my kiddos felt in the toy store and at Target was how I felt yesterday when I decided to take a little drive to Hobby Lobby. The last time I was in this store was before I had children. There is one about a half hour from us, and Abigail needed some blue feathers for her ballet costume, so I decided to have my babysitter come over and just take a little mom-break.



Seriously. I am not a shopper. Not a spender. Not a decorator. But this store was: 


I seriously could have spent days just wandering and looking and planning and dreaming and scheming. 

I couldn't help but think, as I just floated from aisle to aisle, Where was this when I lived in the Azores and was trying to put together a baby shower for my friend Rebekah and had to scrape together anything I could to make it resemble a baby shower?! 

I had scoured the twelve measly things at the military "Kmart" and managed to piece together something halfway decent. I had found some blue gift bags and picked out blue skittles and M&Ms (which aren't a good idea to mix in a candy bag because people don't appreciate the change from candy to chocolate but I was desperate.) 

But oh if I would have had a Hobby Lobby!!

I'm still recovering from this outing.

I love the USA!!!!!!!


Greatest country ever.


Sunday Sermon