Tuesday, April 9

And suddenly, spring.

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After a winter whose snows straggled into April, we are like giddy lambs being out of doors again without layer upon layer and heavy boots that track in snow and line up against the kitchen wall for six months in constant use.
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Next is the season of Mud. 
I know it is coming every year and already I let my eyes linger a little higher than usually do when I look downward the way of the floor because evidence of muddy paws and children who are sneaking out barefoot lie there amid the other signs of a lively family life.
Perfection will not be seen this side of heaven and I'm okay with that.
I can live in happy denial when the sun is shining.
 
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Currently, there are baby chicks in a homemade chick house of produce bins with a clamp light in the kitchen by the coal stove and at night when I am nursing Benjamin, I hear their peeps.  Ella has been procuring worms from various places in the yard and feeding their hungry little bellies like a mama bird. It is all quite sweet and funny to see as they go chirping madly about to get a peck at the poor squirming delicacy.

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Spring is also clean up time for the little homestead grounds.  We had one particular tree that blossomed out beautifully every spring in white flowers but produced the most vile and disgusting smell of decaying flesh (I kid you not) that Sean obliged my requests to be rid of it. Every extra bit of sunlight is useful here as we already have thirty or so trees on our small acreage.
 
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In the middle of winter lingering and the chaos in the world, I found myself making smaller our world to the public.  I've found that you can love on people with the best of intentions and wishes for their welfare, share your heart and walk with Christ, and have it all totally missed. To have ones family labeled with all those cruel Christianese terms we fight our brothers and sisters when (while pretending to jest or sign Anonymous with an angry flourish) when ones children are able to grow and read and process is a hard thing.  I don't want our children to have to have thick skin so young. 
 
 
IMG_7101When it all boils down, I don't blog to make my name known or impress people with our slower pace of life or love of homesteading and so for me to pull out of blogging elsewhere or having a facebook page open to more than those I know and trust in the real deal of life seems to me where God has been leading me. 
 
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These years with my littles are too short.  I have goals as a writer but my children and my home and my marriage take priority.  I'm seeing that it is okay, and not a failure, to not fulfill all of one's goals in life, so long as what your open hands to God take what they are given and nurture that to the fullest of your ability.  I've amazingly and at my shaking-head wonder, been given a full life and a large family. 
Every day I feel inadequate.  Every day I am inadequate, but He pulls me through.
 
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As I'm able, I'll blog.  I don't let our children read here yet because I have wanted to protect them from reading some of the comments.  I'd rather they don't know yet that their mother is hated ;) or that the world can be cruel when you stand for Christ in love. And I don't feel it is authentic to only let those of you who like this life we live to comment, so long as the language is kind and the goal is to communicate ideas and not tear down.
 
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I hope your Spring is lovely if you're this side of the sea, or your Autumn, if you're an Aussie reading friend. (Do I have that right? Are my seasons messed up?)
 
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I hope there are children laughing nearby, maybe even leaving dirty footprints on your wood floors as they chase animals through the house and that God's grace is rich in your hearts.  I hope there are friends drinking your tea or settling in for good conversations on your sofa, as I was so blessed to have today.
 
 
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Happy spring, friends.
Love,
Hannah

18 comments:

Michelle H said...

I'm so sorry you've had foolish, hurtful people feel the need to leave ugliness on your sweet and joyful blog. We know from the bible that we Christ-believers will be hated, but a blog is a personal journal put "out there" to share and I am somehow amazed that people would even waste their time reading something they don't like and then take even more time to spew angry comments and opinions. If I find a blog I don't appreciate, I DON'T READ IT. Much less comment on it. Keep your chin up, God loves you!!! Not everybody has that reassurance. Also remember the thing that always makes me cringe-because it's hard for me- Matthew 5:44, But I say unto you, Love your enemies,bless them that curse you,do good to them that hate you,and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Don't feel bad if you need more time away from your blog, we'll get along (*sniff*), we will make do, we can do it. I guess. ;vP I tease. Enjoy your lovely spring weather, muddy as it is. We're extremely muddy in the PNW, too. So thankful for a house with no carpet, I can only imagine how gross that would be, lol. Anyway, I'll try to not leave anymore book length comments after this one, hahaha. Enjoy your amazing, beautiful family. You exemplify the Proverbs 31 woman (no wonder people are mad!).

Katie Lindsay said...

It is indeed Autumn here in Australia, and as your snow lingered, so did our heat, so it is quite a relief to finally have cooler weather. Today is relatively warm, but forecasters are predicting that this is the last of it.

Rebecca said...

Hannah- I don't know how anybody ever could find anything less than beautiful to say about you and your family. Your family (and this blog through it) exudes gentleness, beauty, grace, hardwork, contentment and relationship. That said, I have been the recipient of said hate mail and it hurts. I am sorry that it has happened to you.

"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye , when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely , for my sake . 12 Rejoice , and be exceeding glad : for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour , wherewith shall it be salted ? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid ."

It is easy to believe that when God talks about persecution you think of martyrdom or being imprisoned and that we AREN'T...but I firmly believe that persecution happens in a smaller, more subtle way to us every day- in the raised eyebrows of shoppers as we head to the grocery store, in the unkind comments of family when we announce another pregnancy and with heartless blog comments left only to wound.

Rejoice and be GLAD! No- not just glad- EXCEEDINGLY glad. Because you are fulfilling your calling- you are being a light. People SEE you and you are set apart. Some people don't like that-but that is proof that you are doing what you are supposed to be doing. You are being a witness of Christ. And with that, can come persecution. But earlier in the scripture I quoted, is this: blessed are those who mourn- for they shall be comforted. When you live for Him, you will be persecuted. When you are persecuted, you will be comforted.

I for one am incredibly thankful for your lovely family and the beautiful spot you have made here with the testimony of your life shining forth. I hope I see much more of you in the future!!!

I need to be reminded I am not the only Mama who is dealing with mud prints and wood splitting right now! ;-)

(PS. I hope your visit with sherwood was wonderful!)

Me said...

You, my friends, are too good to me. Thank you for your encouragement.

Michelle, I think I would roll over and die if I had carpet to contend with. Carpet grosses me out to begin with; I'm much more an area rug person, since you can pick up an area rug and clean underneath. We have dear friends in Washington state and I noticed their spring came earlier than ours, lucky, lucky people.

Katie, today we have rain and I think it will continue that way for a while. I love how it "greens" everything up as the earth is all shades of brown after the long winter.

Rebecca, I've managed to stay out of the wood splitting this year with a baby to tend. I secretly love it when the wood is split because stacking wood is excellent for little boys who need to burn energy.
The entire Sherwood family is precious to us and we had a lovely visit with Rosie and Julia before they started out on their new adventure.

Hannah

Jennifer said...

I, too, live where winter is long and mud season has descended upon us! Far from your abode, yet so similar.
I always enjoy stopping by and reading words that are so transparent! Thank you for sharing your heart~

Julian said...

I've been reading your blog for awhile. I come to be refreshed,and reminded of my purpose when life gets chaotic and messy. I once left a comment about church and how I had been hurt. Your reply was balm to my soul. I too have many kids. I too am imperfect. You choose to homeschool,my kids go to public school. You have only been married once, I have been married twice. I have a blended family. Your husband is young,mine is older. I am almost fourty, I'm sure you're a lot younger than that. What all this is getting to, is that we all need eachother. My time here,reading your posts has not been wasted. There are times I was encouraged,and times I was convicted. There are many times I was inspired. Do NOT be discouraged. I understand in my own life wanting to retreat and not have any social contact. I get it. Please remember,that for every unkind word, every difference of opinion, every hateful comment, there are twice as many readers who are encouraged by what you post here. You have a beautiful family,and it is only right you put them first. Just don't let yourself be discouraged. Know that what you post has value,and others need to be encouraged.
Blessings, christina

Teri said...

I'm so sorry that people feel the urge to be so nasty. Even though our beliefs are very different (I no longer believe in God) I love reading about you and your family. Your blog is peaceful to me for some reason. I think some people are very unhappy, and when they see joy in others they decide to try to ruin it. It's their problem.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what these ladies piosted here.. I look forward to reading your posts.. they are life I wish I had..

Protect your family.. you are right the kids do not need to see the nastys..
Enjoy your spring.. I bet all the fruit trees will be smelling WONDERFUL once they bloom.. They just started down here this week!

Sue in NJ

Blondee said...

Hannah-

I am sorry that you are dealing with such nonsense. I just finished a season of not blogging much myself. We are in the small pool of homeschoolers in CNY and one of the families has taken to harassing us. What began as 'prank' threatening phone calls trickled into hate toward us in our own church, involving our pastor to help sort out the nastiness and remind these folks why they are at church to begin with. On Easter, we recieved another harassing call, this one calling our daughter who is barely 12, 'retard', 'slow', laughing at her and mocking whom they thought to be her on the phone.It was in fact me who answered the call. My daughter has mild Asperger's, she is very high functioning and most people are astounded to find that she has any special differences. I stopped blogging because the comments were coming from this herd of hateful people, and they weren't just challenging me or my husband or our faith, but insulting our child, being hateful and calling us awful names as you said so well, in 'Christianese'.

As much as I believe in giving things over to the Lord, after a year of these phone calls and much harassment in this community, we decided we needed to involve the police. As sad as it is to think, some folks just don't realize the Lord is present even though you can't see Him. Seeing an officer of the law sadly shakes more sense into some fellow 'Christians'.

There is nothing wrong with moderating comments. There is nothing wrong with stepping back and taking a break. And as I have learned, there is nothing wrong with standing up for yourself, loving God even harder, and letting your light shine brighter. You are in my prayers and I pray that you discover much of the same. Reading about your precious bunch is a treat, I love your photos and the glimpses you give us into your home life. I pray others come here with the same respect and grace, and leave you feeling appreciated and loved.

Amy said...

I've been offline for a bit(and primarily a lurker before anyway), but did want to tell you that I appreciate your charming blog. I've heard about others leaving blogging or taking blogs private because of unkind comments, and I'm so sorry to read that people have been doing hurtful things to you on your blog. I've gotten one or two nasty emails and I know it hurts - I can't imagine what it must be like to deal with even more of those kinds of things! I just wanted to tell you that I love the encouragement and glimpse into your life that I've seen here, and I hope you are having a happy spring!

Missy said...

I love your blog. It keeps me going as a SAHM and home schooling to boot.

Jen said...

I'm sorry you've had to deal with such unpleasantness. I admit that is why I tried blogging only a very short time - not worth the frustration to me, too big a distraction.

And yet, I will miss you if you blog less or not at all. I've been following your blog for years, as we dream too of a bigger family (God-willing), homeschooling, and someday homesteading. Thank you for sharing the beauty in your life with us all. Blessings!

Lynn Dylan said...

Hi Hannah. I wonder if that tree was a Bradford pear. They are ornamental, lovely, but they stink! I have several of them that border our yard, and they are not mine to cut down! LOL.

xoxo
Lynn

Anonymous said...

Blessings to you from a kindred spirit. Love reading here when you write. You've encouraged me more than you could know. Completely understand the need to do/write here less for a time.

Wendy M. said...

Reading your words and seeing your pictures blesses me immensely. I will continue to read whatever you choose to post, and I know I will continue to be blessed! Thank you for sharing your life, experiences, and family with us!

Joy said...

Hannah,
I am so sorry you have had to deal with the rudeness or others. It seems the devil try's to tear us apart knowing he doesn't have too much time left. Just remember we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but principalities Ephesians 6:12.
I think you are a very wise loving mother with lots of wisdom for others, please don't let the devil hide your light! Let it so shine because you are touching others! Your a blessing to me! To know there are others way out there in the world wanting the same things for their children as we do! I'm in TN! Just know your not alone!
Praying for you all!
In Christ,
Joy

Maya said...

Hannah,

I am sorry to hear that you have been dealing with hurtful people. With this technological, impersonal age we have entered in to, people more and more throw their hurtful opinions out there because they can do so anonymously. What happened to treating people as you would like to be treated? I have be following your blog for two years and though I don't necessarily share all the same beliefs as you I love reading your posts. I have loved seeing your family and homestead grow and I have marveled at how much you can accomplish! You are an amazing woman and an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your life and your words with us.

Maya

Shelley Q said...

I am a pastor's wife, mother to two and babe on the way, and homeschool mom too. Recently our family battled a nasty case of pertussis followed by secondary illnesses. It was a horrifying experience that left me drained in every way conceivable. So many people around us practically insisted that I press on and not drop a single responsibility, and stay actively involved in church affairs. I felt more like a commodity or asset than a human being. One older woman prayed faithfully for me both in her own time and coming to my home to lay hands on me. She did nothing but affirm me and my decision to retreat and focus on family. She gave me permission to listen to my own heart and discerning spirit as I made these decisions. I want to extend that same mercy and grace to you. It is just a season of life, that is all. This is what you need to do right now. Indeed, we are in a battle and spiritual warfare is a part of our daily Christian walk. I thought of my time away from it all as a tactical military retreat maneuver, to regain strength to return to fight another day. God is faithful and I have been fully healed both physically and emotionally. My sweet baby boy's life was spared which is a testimony of Grace. Many medical professionals told me later my devotion to him during those weeks of acute illness is what made all the difference in his return to health. Trust your instincts, dear Mama. May peace like a blanket cover you and restore you.