Zechariah 13:9

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. Zechariah 13:9

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Our Blog's Name

These thoughts are what led us to name our blog "being tried as gold" many years ago.  We all have times in our lives when we feel like we are in the "fire", but when we truly understand what God is doing, the "trying" will not be so painful.

This is from Streams in the Desert and when I read it this morning, I knew I had to share it!

The Old Refiner

"He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver" (Mal. 3:3).
Our Father, who seeks to perfect His saints in holiness, knows the value of the refiner's fire. It is with the most precious metals that the assayer takes the most pains, and subjects them to the hot fire, because such fires melt the metal, and only the molten mass releases its alloy or takes perfectly its new form in the mould. The old refiner never leaves his crucible, but sits down by it, lest there should be one excessive degree of heat to mar the metal. But as soon as he skims from the surface the last of the dross, and sees his own face reflected, he puts out the fire.
--Arthur T. Pierson
"He sat by a fire of seven-fold heat,
As He watched by the precious ore,
And closer He bent with a searching gaze
As He heated it more and more.
He knew He had ore that could stand the test,
And He wanted the finest gold
To mould as a crown for the King to wear,
Set with gems with a price untold.
So He laid our gold in the burning fire,
Tho' we fain would have said Him 'Nay,'
And He watched the dross that we had not seen,
And it melted and passed away.
And the gold grew brighter and yet more bright,
But our eyes were so dim with tears,
We saw but the fire--not the Master's hand,
And questioned with anxious fears.
Yet our gold shone out with a richer glow,
As it mirrored a Form above,
That bent o'er the fire, tho' unseen by us,
With a look of ineffable love.
Can we think that it pleases His loving heart
To cause us a moment's pain?
Ah, no! but He saw through the present cross
The bliss of eternal gain.
So He waited there with a watchful eye,
With a love that is strong and sure,
And His gold did not suffer a bit more heat,
Than was needed to make it pure."

Until next time..........

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Frugality and Food Preservation

The definition of "frugality", according to Mr. Webster from 1828, is "a sparing use or appropriation of money or commodities; that careful management of money or goods which expends nothing unnecessarily, and applies what is used to a profitable purpose; that use in which nothing is wasted."   Being frugal is wise and is certainly a necessary virtue when you have a large family with a stay-at-home mom.  Actually, now a days it is good to be frugal even in a 2 income family.   Everyone seems to be "tightening their belts" and trying to save money wherever they can.

It seems in the past, I have learned many ways of being frugal and I still have room to learn more.  Did you know that you can rinse off dental floss and reuse it?  Nothing wrong with that!  Can anyone beat that?  :)   Here are a few other ideas that we have learned and practice:
*have an extra freezer besides your fridge freezer
*buy in bulk as much as you can.  It is cheaper to buy a 50# bag of flour, sugar, oats, whatever and store the extras in freezer.   Find a bulk food store that would do that for you.  Hornings Mkt. will order big bags for you.  Also, look in the pet dept. of WalMart and you will find pet food containers that store large quantities of food.
*buy meat in bulk.  Do not buy already made hamburgers.  Buy loose burger and make your own patties or meatballs and put in freezer.  Find a butcher or local farmer who would be willing to sell you a whole, half or quarter of a beef.  If you only want burger and have to get meat at your local grocer, see if you can get a good discount if you buy a large amount. 

*buy by cases.  Sometimes they offer a discount if you buy by the case.  If you are fortunate to live close to a store who will sell by case (like Hornings and Bill's Produce), go this route, especially if you have an extra freezer.  We buy bananas by the case, peel them and put in freezer.  We put them in blender with milk and have a delicious milk shake and it is so much better for you than ice-cream.  We also do this with berries.  We buy frozen vegetables by the case.  Actually, your options are limitless.   It don't hurt to ask!
*dilute your laundry softener, liquid hand soap, fruit juices, and anything else you can think of
*bake your own desserts - they are healthier for you than packaged food, and cheaper.  Bake extra and put in freezer for another meal.  In fact, do this for main dishes also.
*shop Salvation Army stores and other second hand shops.  Who says your clothing has to be brand new?  And you can find a lot of other bargains besides clothing at these shops.  Mend (if possible) clothing instead of throwing them out.
*when you have to run errands, try to get all necessary stops in on the same day to save on gas and time
*staycations can be alot of fun and alot less stressful.  Stay at home for your vacation or just do local activities.  Put a campsite in your back yard - the children will love it! 

*make your own granola.  This can be done especially if you buy that 50# bag of oats! :)  There are other cereal recipes available as well.  Boughten cereal can be very expensive and they are usually loaded with additives
*use your local library instead of buying books.  If they do not have what you are looking for, they can try to get it from another library.  If you want your own copy - amazon is the way to go or other online sites.  Your library can also get materials you may need for homeschooling.
*try to fix stuff yourself instead of calling repair man first.  Don't be afraid of those hammers or screwdrivers.  Tackle home projects yourself.  Our children can learn alot of different skills by participating in projects.  Sometimes we can learn alot from our children, too, by having their participation! :)
*learn to cut your boys and husbands hair yourself.  We have saved a tremendous amount of money this way!
*buy a big clothes drying rack and use that in the winter instead of your dryer.  It will provide moisture in your home, too.  We have a woodstove in our basement and I hang ALL my laundry either on the rack or on hangers.

*can/freeze/preserve your own food, especially if you like to know where it is coming from, how it was grown, and don't care for additives.

ummmmmm........I am sure you can think of many more to add to this list, and I know that many of you are already practicing many of these suggestions.  This is from a mother's perspective.  There is probably a whole other list that a man could make.   I think contentment and not believing that we need to have the best of everything is a huge plus in being frugal.  Our frugality in the home blesses our husbands tremendously! 

Speaking of preserving food........
Today I had 2 bushels of broccoli to freeze.  The rebel that I am, I decided to go against what the cooperatives would tell you about blanching your veggies.  I simply washed the heads in a sink with cold water and Basic H (Shaklee), drained on towel, cut up, and put in freezer bags.  For the last few years I have froze green beans raw and wondered why I couldn't do broccoli and other vegetables that way.  I did some internet research and found that others were also being rebels, so I joined them. :) So much easier and alot less smelly and messy (cooking broc. does not make a home smell very welcoming ).  And I did not have to use propane to heat the kettles!  Frugal? 

A dear friend and her boys came down last week and brought apples (free for both of us - her father just wanted them used up) to make applesauce.  The boys were a huge help!

 You can see in this picture the "pet food" containers on the floor that I mentioned above.  They hold a 50# bag and I have one each for my grain, sugar, and an extra one for whatever I decide to put in it.  I love 'em!

I would love to hear frugal ideas from you.  Email them or post in comments.

Until next time. . . . . . . .

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happy 18th to Solomon

This is the first time that we are not able to celebrate a birthday with any of our children.  Solomon turned 18 yesterday, but he has been on Fisher Island, just off of NY, for the past 2 weeks and will be there for another 2 weeks.  They are moving a huge house from the edge of a cliff that has a steep drop into the ocean.  To get to Fisher Island, you have to catch a ferry in Connecticut and travel 45 min. til you reach this approx. 9 mile long, 1 mile wide piece of ground that is 2 miles out from the port.  He said that they were spending the day over on the main land yesterday, shopping and catching a movie.  We miss you Solomon and hope you had a great day spent with friends.

This is Ben at almost 6 yrs old, Kelsey - 4 yrs, and Solomon at 1 yr. old.......
This is Solomon at 17 ......

One of his friends emailed these pictures from Fisher Island - thanks, Ben B!

Happy 18th Birthday, Solomon!  We love you!

Until next time.............

Monday, October 17, 2011

Our Farm Life Continued

Back in May, I had shared our farm life beginnings.  Those years were interesting years, adventurous years, goal driven years.  And they took us on quite a journey! http://beingtriedasgold.xanga.com/748067892/our-farm-life-beginnings/  At the end of the "beginnings", we had been led to purchase a farm, which we have named "Summer Hill Farm" and it is where we have lived for the past 7 years.   I would love to write that those 7 years were pain free, worry free, easy going, smooth years.  After all, is that not the kind of life we envision to live if we are living it for the Lord?  Shouldn't living for Him mean that all answers to all the decisions we face will be crystal clear to us?  No, my friend, it doesn't.  We have found that is doesn't and it was never promised in His word that a life committed to Him would be smooth, easy going, worry and pain free!  I have hesitated in sharing the story of the last 7 years.  It is my pride, though, that has made me hesitate.  It is not a glamorous, victorious story, but a story of deep faith testing, a time of much wondering if we truly were in the Lord's will.  A story where the characters feel defeated, beat up and somewhat lost at times.  I feel led to share it though, not for your sympathy, not to complain, not to be negative, but for God to use it to touch others lives, even if it be just one.  I have permission from all the characters involved to share this story.

All decisions that we have made as parents were always made with our children's best interest in mind.  It has been Dave's goal to provide opportunities for them in life, even if it meant sacrifice of time, money, and hard labor on his part.  The whole idea of farming was to be able to work together as a family, to expose our children to many different skills and responsibilities, all the while doing what comes natural, especially to Dave.  He is a farmer!

When we bought this farm, it had been a rental for about 20 years.  We knew it needed some attention, some paint, hammer and nails, and TLC.  We knew we could handle it.  Only after the project began did we realize how much attention it really needed.  A lot more work was needed than the first impression let on.  We worked, and worked hard, at getting our little cozy farm to function in tip top order.  Our lives were moving on and it was good.  However, we were so busy that we did not recognize that some needs of our children were not being met.  Kelsey became severely depressed and ended up in Phil Haven for 2 weeks, came home for a week, only to have to go back for another week.  What a painful time for her.  It was also an extremely painful time for all us.  What terrible parents we felt we were!  For surely it was all our fault?  What is going on in all our children's hearts that we are missing because we are so busy?  What are they feeling and thinking?   It is difficult to put into words what was going on in our minds and it is a time in our lives that Dave will not talk about.  He was told that it was a "father wound" and it devastated him.  He was only trying to do what he felt the Lord was telling him to do and what he thought was best for his family.  No, he was not a perfect father, but he was giving it his all and he felt like it was not good enough.  He decided that if this farming thing makes us too busy, too busy for our children, than we have to sell it and get out.  He laid the farm, his dreams, his goals at the Lord's feet and surrendered his will to His.  The cows (we kept the heifers) left on a truck, a real estate sign went up and we started looking to where we will move to.  We waited . . . waited. . . waited.  No buyers, only a few masonry jobs came in . . . . not enough money.   Have you ever faced a time like this?  You follow what you feel the Lord is telling you and then no answers come and no doors open?  I went to work doing in-home elder care and Dave held down the farm, taught school, did the wash, etc. and fit his masonry jobs with my schedule.  After months of nothing happening with the farm, we realize that we have to get cows again to have income coming off the farm.  So, a truck delivers a beautiful herd of cows and the milk pump starts working once again.  I continued doing elder care part time and life moved on.  Well . . .  milk prices plummet and feed prices sky rocket and we are looking to have to go in debt to buy feed!  Is that what God wants?  For us to go further in debt?  To feed cows?  No, we did not feel that was His will, so off go the cows on another truck and along with them went part of Dave and some of the children.  Now Dave still did not have an abundance of masonry work, and he is thinking that he needs to find a secure job.  He was hired at Dutch Valley working nights sweeping floors.  Now there is nothing wrong with sweeping floors, a humble job, but after months of working nights, coming home to sleep 2 hrs. and leaving to do his masonry work (which by the way, has picked up), coming home to go to bed for a few hrs and getting up to go sweep floors, he became ill.  His heartburn got so very bad, and his deprivation of sleep had changed him into a different person.  He had to quit or it would have killed him.  By this time our older boys were itching to milk cows again.  Can you believe it?  Another herd of cows? "Oh, dear Lord, what is Your will?  You didn't sell the farm, Dave wasn't created to work on 5 hrs. of sleep a day, our boys need something to do.  Should we really milk cows again?"  Here comes another truck delivering cows and that milking pump starts up yet again.  That has been 3 years ago and we are still milking cows.  During this journey of 7 years, at times our faith was rocked and at times it was strengthened.  If we follow the Lord's leading, why at times do questions go unanswered, why do doors not open, why does His face seem hidden?  Oh, we have had times of deep doubt, deep discouragement, distrust and then we had wonderful times of faith building and confidence in what we were doing.  We have had times where we told God we are done and that He would have to reveal to us that His love for us was unconditional and that He loves us right here, right now, just how we are, no matter what!  And you know, He has always came through!  He has always provided for us and all things were done on His timing not ours.   We have come to realize that He loves to surprise us!  We do not know what the future holds for us here on the farm and sometimes it seems more than I can bear not knowing the answers, but they are not mine to know and it is better that way.   Only when I surrender, fully surrender, it to Him, to Him that knows the future and holds tomorrow, do I find peace.  He is working in our lives in ways that we do not always understand.  We have often, and still do, talk about some characters in the Bible.  I can only imagine what went through Joseph's mind.  His brothers betrayed him, he lived as a slave and ended up in prison for 7 years for something he did not do.  I wonder if he wondered where God was and why was he in prison where he was not doing anyone any good?  Did his faith waiver?  Then I see how God used him after he was released from his cell!  Oh, why do we doubt, why does our faith waiver, why do we despair and grow discouraged when life brings hardships and trials?   They are to make us more like Him.   We need to keep our eyes focused on Him and our lives surrendered.  Only then are we able to come through the fire and not be scorched, nor have one hair singed.  Only then will we be able to have the strength to face whatever comes our way.  Oh, the lessons we learn from the past.....

I read this quote after I had typed this post and thought I would insert here, for it goes with my questioning.
"During a test, the teacher is silent."  I like it!!!!

This is our barn with 42 milking stalls......  (I had included in the "beginning" blog, pictures of our previous milking facilities.  This is by far the best one!  :)

Until next time..............................

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Switching Over

We have been blogging since 2008 on Xanga, but due to having some difficulties with them, we decided to try Blogger.  Our past posts can still be viewed at http://beingtriedasgold.xanga.com/, but we will use this site for all future posts.   I have been trying retrieve my Xanga posts and insert them on this site, but it seems that is no easy task.  I would be extremely grateful to anyone who could advice me or help me with that.

Until next time.............

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Our 25th Wedding Anniversary

Tuesday, 04 October 2011

  • Our 25th Wedding Anniversary

    Dave & I are now married for a quarter of a century as of today at 2:00 PM!  Seems like yesterday in some ways, but also seems like I have always known him.  So very much has happened in 25 years and we have had many happy times, many sad times.  We have experienced many thrilling times, many scary times.  We have felt many secure and confident times, many insecure and inferior times.  But one thing remains and that is the fact that we stuck together through all those times and I look forward to staying glued to this man who God knew I needed all those years ago.   Kelsey and my mom put their heads together and planned a surprise celebration for us to take place this past Sunday.  It was beautiful and we really enjoyed seeing people we haven't seen for awhile and fellowshipping with our friends and family that came to honor us.  We were blessed!!
    I thought it would be fun to do a pictorial comparison from our wedding to our 25th anniversary.

    We were married at my home, back in the woods.  It was a nice day, but the threat of rain kept some of us looking heavenward a few times....

    1986 - Wedding

    25 years later

    From 2 to 11

    Bridal Party

    Bridal party transportation to reception

    Weidenhammer family transportation

    Wedding cake

    Anniversary cake

    Our parents at wedding

    Will add a recent picture when I get one..
    Grandparents - they are all deceased now

    waiters and waitresses

    The rest of the pictures were taken at anniversary party

    My sister-in-law, Mary did the decorating and it was so pretty and romantic.  My sister, Karen, was the photographer and I look forward to receiving the memory book she is putting together.  Much planning, work, and trying to keep secrets was put into the celebration and we are extremely honored.  Thanks so much to everyone who was involved.

    I just had to share the saying from the card from Dave's mom & dad.....
    "I'll love you for heifer!" he said without shame.  "I'll give you my heart and I'll give you my name."  She batted her eyes and blushed with a shudder as she felt the blood rush from one end to the udder.  From that moment forward, he stayed true to his word.  And together they raised one sizable herd!

    Until next time..............

Monday, October 3, 2011

Oakley Turns 2

Monday, 03 October 2011

  • Oakley Turns 2!

    Today is the birthday of the sweetest little person - Oakley Paige!  She is now 2 years old and she don't miss a thing.  She loves life and we all love being around her.  She is more impressed with Poppop than grammy and has named all the men on every piece of paper money "Poppop".  You didn't know that I have a famous hubby with his picture on the $1, 5, 10 & 20 $ bills?      Happy Birthday to Oakley!
    Until next time......................