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

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Compared to Who?

When we bought this farm in 2004, the house (and all buildings for that matter) needed lots of help.  We did a lot of work in the house, but any project that involved anything with the cows was priority due to the fact that they provided our income.  I have shared some of the projects we did do on past blog posts, but that is not what I want to focus on.  I want to talk about contentment, for it is an area that God has been truly working at in my life.  For those of you who have been to visit us, you know what our home looks like.  The outside is not very attractive,

The basement is dirt, our first floor consists of a porch that we made into office, mudroom and pantry.  It is the place where everyone enters, and they will more than likely be greeted with the wonderful smell of "barny" chore clothes.  The kitchen and dining room (which is also our school room) are not very big and I  get claustrophobic when 6 males decide to stand around visiting in the kitchen while I am trying to work.
The living room is the most unfinished room with drywall that needs to be finished off.  The ceilings are the floor of the upstairs and when the shower is running upstairs, it sounds like it is raining downstairs.  A door needs to be put in where the window is and little not-so-noticable things need to be repaired or finished.
 The playroom/laundry is where the boys play the most and it always seems to be in disarray.  The floors (especially in the kitchen/dining) are old hardwood with large enough cracks between them that, when I sweep with a broom, the dirt gets lost in the cracks or even falls down into the basement.  When we walk or if someone sits and jiggles his leg up and down, the whole floor shakes.  This is the first floor.....
Our bathroom is upstairs with a separate shower stall.....neither are quite up to the latest styles....

Over time, I had become more and more ashamed and embarrassed of our home, even though I do my best to make it as warm and welcoming as possible.  Don't ask Dave about it, because he feels worse than I do about our home's condition, but to have it just right takes both time and money and neither are readily available on this farmstead.  It had gotten to the point where I did not want anybody to come over to visit and if they did I would make excuses for our home.  All I could see were all the "undone" things and not the good things about it.  God started to speak to me about this.  I Tim. 6:6-8 - "But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."   He does not say that we need a nice house or new car or farm or whatever to be content.  No, just two things - food and clothing.  Discontentment breeds envy, jealousy, bitterness, unhappiness.  It is unthankfulness!  I realized that my discontentment and embarrassment of my home were like slapping God in the face.  It was telling Him that what He gave me just was not good enough.  Discontentment and comparing walk hand in hand.  The question always is "Who do you want to compare yourself to?"  First of all, we should not do the comparing game at all, but we do, don't we?  I can compare my home to the home down the road that is big, spacious, new and beautiful.  Mine would fall way short and discontentment would set in.  Or I could compare my home with the rickety huts that the Haitians have to live in and mine would look like a mansion!  They would be oh so happy with the bouncy floors, the leaky windows, the barny smell, cramped quarters and an indoor toilet and shower.  They would think they were in heaven!   Blessings of peace and contentment come when I truly, from the bottom of my heart, pour out my thankfulness for what God has given me and not wish for anything more.  I can be thankful for the cracks in the floor, for they enable the heat from the wood stove in the basement to warm the upstairs more easily, I can be thankful for the small spaces and the claustrophobic feelings for it forces my dear family to be "close" together.  I can be thankful for the barny smell that penetrates the whole porch for it is a sign we are healthy enough to work.  I can be thankful for my simple bathroom, for hey! I don't need to run outside in the cold to an outhouse!  The times when comparing and discontentment come knocking at my door, (and they knock quite loudly), instead of answering I thank God for what He has given me, and for meeting my needs in a way that He feels best.  My little imperfect abode is my earthly mansion and it is a gift from my Heavenly Father.  He has seen fit to give me more than food and clothing and I am so very thankful!   I will no longer be ashamed of this gift and will welcome any visitor.  Want to come over?  Please, just remember to sit still so the floor don't shake and really!  that's not rain - it's just the shower and don't it sound relaxing?

Until next time. . . . . . .

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Down The Wrong Alley!

So, I was speeding right along on Highway Diet 101 towards Better Health when some distractions caught my attention out the side window.  I slowed down and realized I was at the intersection of Birthday Party Alley and Highway Diet 101! I so stupidly decided to take a detour down the alley, which was lined with shops called Birthday Cake, Tortilla Shop (stuffed with apple filling), and Chips Galore! (we did have fresh veggies and fruit, also).  As I passed each one, I just had to stop in and taste test their products!  One bite led to another and another.  Uuuhhhh!  Why, oh why didn't I have the strength to squeal my tires in haste to get away from that intersection and keep heading for my destination.  Well, the detour lasted all weekend into Monday!  I got lost on Homemade Pierogi Ave., Chocolate Fountain St., and ended up on Nibble Interstate where it became clear that I was paying the price for my curiostiy.  By Monday evening, I was feeling defeated, but my dear hubby and sons encouraged me that "tomorrow is a new day, just start again."  Over the last 2 weeks, I had become lazy in doing my trackers (a sheet that I write down everything I eat and the times I do so).  Tuesday morning arrived with new grace (and self forgiveness) and a new tracker got put on fridge and blinders strapped to my head :) heehee!  Today went much better and I feel like I am back on track.  The whole incident made me realize that I CANNOT cheat.  My body reacts to the sugar and wheat and self control flys right out the back window.  I also realize that I am not as strong  fighting temptations as much as I wish I was.  It reminds me of how sin can enter into our lives - oh, just one little sentence of gossip, just one little peek at the immoral picture, oh, thats not really cheating is it and it's only a white lie!  Surely just alittle won't hurt!  And before you know you are sucked into the racecar traveling pellmell down avenues you thought you would never travel!  May we find strength to not become distracted by the luring shops that seem to line the streets we travel each day.

On a good note, I am still walking and becoming physically stronger!  Not 7 days a week, but most days.  The weather has been so nice that we have been able to walk outside.  Thought I would share the view that we (the boys go with me) have when we walk on the street.  Much better than here's a cow, there's a cow, everywhere's a cow cow - 42 times around the barn!

Starting at house, we truck up this long hill.....

Down this side..                                                                                                                                         

Up to town.... turn around, go back up hill (above pic)                                                                    
and back down this hill......                                                                                                                    
past our house to neighbors lane and back to house again ...                                                                       
This is our farm from on top of the hill....                                                                                                   

As far as weight and inches lost? I didn't lose any more in the last 2 weeks and will not measure until 2 more weeks.  This journey has gotten harder here lately, but I will keep my goals and do my best.  What more can I do? 

Until next time. . . . .  .

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Happy 9th, Oliver

Today, the youngest person in our family turned 9!  He spent his day helping the men folk around the farm and in the afternoon enjoyed a small party we had in honor of him.   He received some money, a basketball, a fishing rod, underwear and a bomber hat.  Yea for the bomber hat!  He wanted one months ago and thought I could make one for him.  I never felt brave enough to tackle one, so I was very excited to find one at WalMart for 50% off this morning!   He wanted to make and decorate his own cake and he did a fine job! :)

Happy 9th birthday, Oliver Forest!  We love you bunches!

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