Monday, January 26

Motherhood is not about how well we seem do it all, not about which formula or ideals we employ or how well our children act in public. Motherhood is not about the glorification of me. It is all about the glory of Christ, whatever form that may take. It may take the form of little sleep, a difficult road with a child, or a full on melt-down in Target.  We can be sure of this though, that He who began a good work in us mothers and in our children will be faithful to bring it to completion and faithful to teach us to trust Him and enjoy Him forever.  May He receive all the glory.

Friday, January 23

January Beauty

January is usually a hard month. Is it alright to say that?  I feel like we all are under pressure to walk around trying so hard to be okay, to give the impression repetitive months of frigid and dark don't affect us. :)  I've decided I'm too old for that anymore.  January flies in dark and cold in upstate New York and things are more difficult to arrange with our sweet Levi & Benjamin combo which makes getting out out the house, even for a heart-pounding, blood stirring ski across the fields, very difficult.  Sean has been under the weather for a few months with a Lyme flare-up and as this hymn flits across the Pandora app on my phone, I turn it up. 

The coming of the new year came with our church's annual time of prayer and fasting and this time of reflection, contemplation and prayer is always a balm.  I feel challenged by God to look for the hope and beauty He sends to us and to trust Him as we are in this season of the unknown as a family.  I know His graces are all around me, quite silly actually, to need to be reminded to look for them but how thankful I am for His loving, gentle reminders.

1. The bedroom was a mess as I had pulled furniture from corners for a good deep cleaning, wall wipe down and floor scrubbing when this gift of afternoon sunshine fell across the wall.  The little oil painting and embroidery on the wall are a mix of family heirlooms and second hand finds.  My favorite one I paid a nickel for at a church sale.

2.  The need to get out for a walk.  It hit one icy Saturday so Levi and I bundled up with only my eye slitted between hat and cowl and him snug in his carrier underneath my coat.  Nine degrees but the sun was turning the scraggly fields to silver and gold.

3.  I'm thankful I can turn out a stack of pumpkin pancakes and have kids happy to call it dinner.

4. It may be all ice and snow outside but the living room mantle got dolled up with some sunshine.
5,6,7.  More lovely ice-cold day walk photos from our country road.

8.  Sean surprised me with a little indoor greenhouse for Christmas and we planted our homeschool Hope Garden with peas, beans, swiss chard and stevia and one lone black grape seed.  I'm not sure what all will last with our limited daylight but I'll pick up a grow light next time we're at Lowes.  Aiden put it together for me and we placed it up by a window in the homeschool room, which being above a woodstove, is easily the balmiest room in the house.

9.  Sean handed me a latte just as I headed into the copper tub for a hot soak while the hurricane of children stuck indoors during a week where temps never rose above zero swirled around the house.  He blesses me daily.

10. Amazon boxes turned into playhouse.  And lots of donate bags.  There is just something absolutely cheery about cleaning out and passing on.

11.  I took advantage of knitpicks wonderful black Friday yarn sale and whipped up the Gallatin scarf.  Reading this on my kindle.  So good.

Saturday, January 17

Menu and recently

oat groats with cinnamon and raisins
corn muffins

garden salad
cheese quesadillas
fried potatoes and sausages
hummus and naan
sourdough crackers, cheese slices, fruit, salami
Mexican millet
millet salad

grilled Asian chicken salad
cheeseburger casserole
pumpkin pancakes
garlic tofu over rice
general tso tofu, greens, rice
pork chops with apples and onions
ham and potatoes

adapting to 4am wake-up calls
sunshine and sub-zero temps
winter housecleaning - spring is much to sought after to be stuck indoors
daily lessons with my cuties
Foyle's War on Netflix with my love
family photos with our newest blessing
lettuce and beans sprouting in the little indoor greenhouse
reading Give Them Grace and Orthodoxy

Friday, January 9

To Love His Bride

Gandhi is perhaps one of the most often quoted men when one desires to point out the hypocrisy of Christians.  You've no doubt heard or read his statement, "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."  It oft tweeted, posted as a facebook status, and used by believers and unbelievers alike.

I have often wondered what makes Christ followers give validity to a statement about Christ by a man who not only did not follow Him but saw salvation of his own creation.  Had Gandhi known Christ in His fullness, I think his statements regarding Him would surely have been different.  This God in man flesh who said he came to drive a sword (Matt. 10:34) would not have attracted Gandhi nor would Christ's statements to those who thought that eternal rewards were reaped by the quality of life lived here on earth, a belief common to both Hindus and the Pharisaical crowds.

But what does all this have to do with loving the Bride of Christ? A barb in the flesh statement like this, whether self inflicted or inflicted on others,  is far from the mind of Christ toward His Bride, far from the passionate, sacrificial love He gives her and it ought to be far from our minds as well.

When I've written about church before, "church" being another name for The Bride or the gatherings of our fellow believers whether grouped in homes, modern churches or ancient cathedrals, I've heard stories of incredible pain experienced in those settings, done by people all claiming to be followers of Christ.  Personally, I've attended the same church since I was two years old and feel like a walking encyclopedia of our church's history, the good and the bad, the memorable and the stuff we'd all wish to un-remember, if that were only possible. This isn't an article about healthy and unhealthy churches, though that is a great and needed conversation to have, it is about the assumption that we can love God, hi-five Jesus, but not love one another in our mutual sin.

I once heard a man grumble, "That church is full of hypocrites!" and I wanted to shout, "Wonderful!  Isn't that the type of folk a church should be full of?  Sinners who recognize their need for amazing grace?  He came for the sick and not the well, right?"
Right?  Can we believe this truth and still quote Gandhi?

Those hypocrites, I am one as well.  I know what to do and I don't do it!  Every single day this happens in my life! I am unlike the Christ I follow in so many ways that it frustrates me to no end! However, I can trust that He who began the hard work of dealing with my hard-headed self and doing good work in me will keep on keeping on. Paul had this same hypocritical struggle as well several millennia ago (Romans 7) and the darndest thing is we still name churches and children after him but will curse our fellow man for struggling like Paul struggled.

I am a mom of many and so I can type out my next statement with utter assurance at its truth.
Not everyone sins the same way but everyone sins in some way.  Also just as true is that just as some children are not as talented at hiding their sin and have that knack for getting under your skin, so it goes with us believers.  The sweet Grandma who brings brownies to the bake sale needs Jesus just as well as the man sipping from his brown bag during the sermon because needing Jesus isn't measured on a scale of how bad our sinning is or how good we're being.

My husband has often told me that there is nothing new under the sun and that history repeats itself and when I read all the words that were written in the new testament and see just how many of them (it is a lot) were written to believers about loving each other and getting along with one another I have to agree.
"If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?  And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers." I John 4

Trust me, I get it.  It is hard.  HARD.  There was a season that I cried every weekend because it meant going to church.  I would cry and plead with God to give me His love for His church, a love that would bear the insults, forgive the hurts, turn the other cheek and not hurt back, sacrifice my comfort and preferences, and shoulder on through difficult relationship times because I realize that is exactly what He does for me.

We love each other because He first loved us, my friends.  It will not always be the warm and fuzzy sensation our society calls love but it will be the kind of sacrificial, agape love that requires nothing but is willing to give everything that will identify us with Christ. 

Sunday, December 7



baked French toast
scrambled eggs with cheese and breakfast sausage
cereal and fruit
rice pudding and tea
fried potatoes and eggs


yogurt and granola
ricecake pizzas
nachos, salsa and hummus
Whole Foods chicken salad over lettuce
pasta salad
flank steak and flatbread


butternut squash pasta
fish tacos
ginger venison, mushroom and greens stir fry
grilled chicken salad and peanut noodles
polenta with marinara, garlic rolls
winter minestrone and garlic bruschetta


Sunday, November 16

Finally, he came...

After watching, waiting, more waiting and wondering at the purpose and plan in those nineteen days of post-due-date waiting, he came.  We had opted to help labor along, with the guidance of our midwife, and once things finally kicked into gear around midnight, labor was hard.  I had joked with friends about my enormous waistline, 43 inches was my girth this time around, the hugest leap in measure I had ever had.  Afterwards I joked that epidurals were made for big babies but, alas, there is none to be found while birthing at home.  I am pretty small when not pregnant and this novelty of watching my belly expand as never before made me scan the screen carefully those last weeks of watching to see that all was well within.   Just one baby, the kind technician consoled me.

After two hours of good laboring with our oldest daughter encouraging me and Sean ever present - I kept begging him not to leave me and he kept promising he wouldn't - and telling myself all I needed to do was breath and God would take care of the rest, and imagining myself standing in the big pines up at our old camp on the banks of the creek, watching the children play below and Sean fishing and me holding this new one, my breaths the winds, and keeping that golden tidbit of verse," the Lord stood beside me and strengthened me" close to heart, and then pushing, never having had to work at pushing before, and thinking that if I ever were disemboweled, it must feel like this (smile) our fifth son was born on our bed.
"Relief" is not strong enough a word but it certainly covers some measure of what I felt following this delivery and we are so, so thankful that he came safely.
We have named our son Levi Joshua and when Sean read the scale, I laughed, and thought he was joking.  Levi weighed ten pounds and measures 22.5 inches long, sweet boy.  We're all smitten with him and are settling (so happily) into life as a family of ten.

Just a few photos from the next morning - we're still in recovery/lack of sleep/ all day cuddling mode...

Sunday, October 26

Bits and a Menu

#Mantle tinkering with my new square #wreath made with old book pages cut into hickory leaves. I'm running out of areas to nest. Beautiful Annaliese. A few of my sparkle berry pickers. #eatlocal #wildfoods #foraging Hiking (waddling) and picking sparkle berries with our crew. How #sewing gets done. Which always makes things interesting. Yep. upload Naptime. For #baby toes. #sewing #leather #thisisfun #39.5wks
1. fall mantle with my grandmother's yellow glass and a wreath I made out of old book pages cut into hickory leaves.  The old skis we found in the rafters of our cellar. 2. beautiful Annaliese 3. some of my crew when we went out hiking to pick Autumn Olives 4. Autumn Olives 5. how sewing gets done 6. big baby belly 7. second attempt at sewing with leather - a cute suede and leather tote bag which I'll use in place of the traditional cutesy diaper bag 8. Benjamin napping in just about the same spot as where he was born 9. leather moccs for the new babe; first attempt at sewing with leather

Well, that due date came and went with no hoopla. :)  Still here, still pregnant and (cough) measuring six inches larger around the middle than I have in the past.  I don't know if this kiddo is just large or lying strange.  Time will tell.  I've been walking, cleaning, canning and lifting with no action. 
A few questions I've gotten have asked if I include snacks in my meal planning.  The answer is not usually.  Sometimes, but not always.  Usually I jot down ideas for lunches and plump them up with whatever is in the fridge, cheese slices, carrot sticks, fruit, applesauce, etc.  We don't snack throughout the day.  The kids have one snack at three each afternoon and that it all.

How do I get sewing done?  Well, first, I never get to sew all day. :)  Sewing is done in bits and pieces.  Usually during nap time or when the kids are playing outside.  Often, Benjamin is in the sewing room/office emptying drawers or playing with buttons.  Addie too, finds it one of her favorite places to explore and play so I always have company.  Benjamin likes to sit on my lap while I sew at the machine or dance on whatever fabric I have laid out, telling me, "nice, nice!"  Sewing is an adventure.  There is always a partially finished project waiting for a few minutes of free time.  Sewing is pretty much the same as anything else I do as a mama - there are always kids around joining me or keeping me company.

cereal with fruit and milk
applesauce muffins
apple scones
oat groats
oven French toast
banana oatmeal smoothies

yogurt with granola
cheese quesadillas, applesauce
fruit ambrosia, cheese and pepperoni slices, crackers
pasta e fagioli
baked potatoes

zucchini rice casserole, garlic roasted potatoes
butternut squash pasta
burrito bowls
German apple pancakes
creamy tomato basil pasta, greens
kheema on brown rice
roasted veggie and black bean burritos