sacred soil….

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(i’ve not written like this in quite some time and as i type the lines, i wonder whether i’ll make sense to anyone but myself…i wonder if i’ll sound as though the west has gotten the better of me…and, maybe i won’t, and maybe it has. either way, i feel a need to write the things that my heart has been pondering this past week…)

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the tractor pulled up to the edge of the brown, barren ground and the farmer surveyed the stakes that marked the perimeter of our intended new garden plot. he slowly drove forward and lowered the tiller attachment he pulled into the ground and proceeded forward. the earth spun, and gave way under the moving blades to reveal rich, fertile soil.

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i stood nearby and watched the blades churning along, watched the farmer drive forward along the lines we’d made. one swipe forward, and then he turned around and made pass after pass. the first sweep of the entire space was uneventful, but on the second round,  his tractor abruptly shut off after hitting an old plowshare that had been buried for who-knows-how-many years. he got off the tractor seat, surveyed the culprit and tossed it to the side, no damage done. the farmer finished two more rounds of tilling up the space and we looked at it together and both proclaimed it very good. i wrote him a check for his services and thanked him, and he loaded up the equipment and went on his way. i went back into the house, but not before going over and picking up a handful of the dirt.

i knelt down to look closer, felt the cool, fresh earth in my hand, smelled the scent of fertile soil. and, as i did, i felt this overwhelming sense that this is something sacred.

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i’ve always loved gardening, and even from a child i would involve myself as much as i was allowed to in the gardens. of course over the span of my life my feelings have varied from the youthful days of ‘why do we have to have this big of a garden with so many weeds’ to my current status of ‘let’s make the garden bigger this year’.

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Monday as i surveyed this new plot and felt the rawness of the freshly turned soil, i sensed God’s presence and His purpose for gardening in new and deeper ways. i’ve long believed that gardening is clearly a God-ordained work, but maybe i’m now realizing it’s not just because he made man to tend to plants in the beginning of time. maybe i’m now realizing that the process of gardening is a process that deepens my knowledge of God’s holiness and sovereignty over me and my little life.

in gardening i’ve found so much fulfillment as i’ve watched plants grow from miniscule seeds to tall and flourishing plants. i’ve walked in the coolness of the morning as the plants were wet with dew and found refreshment and renewed vision for the daily task of watering and weed pulling.

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but, as i’ve thought more about this sacredness of tending to a garden i’ve come to see that God can and does use this work in my life to meet needs aside from the physical. tending to a garden is a sacred privilege for me that comes with responsibility. privilege in that as i tend to the soil, as i watch the plants grow i get to be a part of something that has been around since the dawn of time. responsibility in that i cannot take for granted that God has me at a place in time where gardening is such a big part of my life and a true joy. privilege in that as i go through the process of working this hard work, i sense Him refining me and drawing me to His holiness.

as i’ve started things in little trays, as i’ve put seeds into the ground this year, i’ve felt not just joy and excitement. i’ve also felt sobered by the fact that i can do everything ‘right’ and by the books, but it is truly God who gives the increase. i don’t know what tomorrow may hold; the tornado season is just upon us and while i cannot live in fear of the unknown, i feel the weight of it. i’ll do all i can to ensure that the soil is well watered and fertilized, but i cannot control the bugs and the winds and the hail and the rains that may not come. but, as i tend to the earth and do my best to grow things, i will pray for God’s protection and increase, and trust Him in this sacred work.

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truly these things apply to all of life; none of our days or our purposes should be taken for granted. whether your purpose is office work, or gardening, child-rearing or caring for the elderly, construction or sewing, these things are all very important and purposeful…none being more sacred than another. the sacredness comes not from trying to spiritualize every second of every day, but instead from recognizing that all of these things, all of these purposes, they are all in fact sacred moments and meanings and we must trust Him to make us holy through the process.

what if we all pressed on to find the ‘sacred soil’ God is giving us to work…

~Rachel

 

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For Today…

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outside my window….

it is grey and blustery. the wind is coming from the north and it feels so very chilly. it’s not snowing though, so i’m fine with that.

i am thinking….

about my garden plans, chicks i’ve ordered, what to make for supper tonight.

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i am wondering….

how to be a good friend, how to make friends, how to maintain friendships. it’s funny how life changes the landscape of friendships as we grow older.

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i am thankful….

for my family. today as i sat on the chair with Kate on my lap, i squeezed her tight and told her this is my favorite. actually, sometimes i look at each one of my children and think that i could never pick a favorite child because they are ALL my favorites.

i am wearing….

white skirt, striped shirt and shoes. nothing fancy on this day of housework and bread baking.

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i am creating….

nothing really. i have a dress cut out, and no thread to sew it with. there are a number of projects we hope to get to soon, but for now, it’s just the normal work of housekeeping that occupies my days.

i am going….

to pick up the school children just soon.

i am reading….

Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell. very intriguing read, in my opinion. and, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier. a dear friend just sent this to me yesterday in the mail, and i was so delighted to get it! i love sitting down and reading through cookbooks.

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i am learning….

that taking care of the earth we grow our food in is much more involved than a simple tilling and dropping seeds into the soil. being good stewards is not only limited to how we spend our money.

a favorite quote for today….

You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully.

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happy Tuesday..

R

 

Miscellaneous Monday

this is what happens when you have too many things going on in a week.

i wrote the words below last Wednesday, and then life took over and i never got the chance to post it.

i said to my husband on Friday of last week that i am so glad most of my weeks and days are not like they were last week. i felt like i was going in 100 different directions on Friday and it was all good and great and i don’t regret any of it. but, truth be told, i don’t ENJOY the busy-ness of life when it’s too much. when i’m home only long enough to grab something and get right back out the door to the next thing. when i’m buzzing from one thing to the next and feeling like i barely give my best efforts to anything.

this week looks much more manageable in most respects and for that i am glad.

i guess the too-busy weeks help me appreciate the ones that tend to be more even keeled.

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i was supposed to be over at the children’s school this afternoon, but i’ve been coughing my head off today, and i’m pretty sure none of the school kids were going to learn anything from that, so i stayed home.

Kate is down for her nap, not sleeping yet, but in bed.

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the sun is shining so beautifully, and i would really love to be outside, but (see first paragraph about coughing my head off all day.)

i cleaned the boys room this morning. i certainly should have documented that occasion with a photo. but, no worries. i will surely be cleaning it again all too soon.

i baked three quiche this morning too. we all love quiche and it makes the best grab-and-go breakfasts for our before school mornings that are less than calm and serene.

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i ordered 16 boxes of tissues online and they came today. if i was going to hashtag that moment it would most definitely be #idespiserunningoutoftissues

the floor was just mopped and i’ve long been justifying my having to sit down in the living room by starting to mop the floor at the other side of the room and then i am forced to take a break. from the chair i’m sitting in, this is the exact view at the moment:

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i also ordered a new, 8 quart crock pot from Amazon and it came yesterday. it’s currently cooking two pork roasts for supper.

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and, a two random things that are speaking to me right now…

this song:

these words:

“Prayer is not an escape from responsibility; it is our response to God’s ability.”

//hope your week gets off to a great start and that you can enjoy whatever each day holds.//

R

 

 

 

shifting seasons…

am i the only one who can hardly believe that this is the last day of the year 2015?! time just goes fast and faster, doesn’t it?

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although the days and weeks and months and years march on, there is a constant pulling within my heart to seek out what God would have for me in each and every new day. some days, some weeks, this seems easier to discern than others. of course the demands and needs of my family determine a lot of my time and i know this is God’s plan for my life. some days, in all honesty, i’m more okay with that truth than i am on other days. 😉 i guess that would be a bit of growing weary in well-doing, right?

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i’ve been thinking so often the last while of the seasons of life. how i’ve been in so many different seasons in the course of my life and how in some respects they are the same from year to year, but in other respects they are very, very different.

some seasons of my life have been longer than others. some have been more intense, some a little less.

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it seems i was JUST in the season of newborn babies and changing diapers and nursing and no sleep. (truthfully i’m still in the season of little sleep, but that’s irrelevant.)

and, it seems like yesterday that we were in the season of being ‘new’ to Kansas and now, almost two years have gone by since we moved here.

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i’ve been in seasons of  ‘pastors wife’ in years past, i’ve been in seasons of ‘familiar’ with friendships established and comfortable.

maybe it’s because i’m in a ‘season’ of unknown and unsure in so many ways, and trying to find my place as an almost 40 year old that these thoughts are forefront in my mind.

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or, maybe it’s because the reality of seasons hits me anew because i’m taking a break from gardening which is one of my favorite pastimes.

i’m so enamored with how gardening is so seasonal, and how times of rest and reprieve are crucial to the whole process of gardening and growing.

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i coaxed lettuce and kale along in my garden until well into the month of December and then suddenly it dawned on me that i needed a break from this thing that i love so much.

i needed to step back so that i wouldn’t become burnt out on something that i love.

i needed to step back so that i could plan and regroup for the next spring season.

i needed to give the earth pause so that it refreshes and renews.

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it gives me pause to see how God has so divinely orchestrated each of the seasons of nature and how the seasons of my own life are not that different from this divine appointment.

while none of my seasons are as predictable as the way our four seasons run, they are in fact as real to me.

as we enter this new year of 2016, i am so excited to see where God takes me.

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there are some big milestones on the calendar for me, for our marriage, and our family… and while those numbers make me feel a tad ‘old’ i’m more grateful and hopeful than anything.

i’m excited about some experiences we have planned, some travel we look forward to and i’m even very excited about the common and ordinary things that we will be doing in each of the coming seasons.

and, while i still wonder where and what God has for me as i try to find my way in this ‘season’ of life, i know i can trust Him with it.

because He is faithful.

so graciously faithful.

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to 2016!

love,

Rachel

 

 

growing and changing…

it seems like i say this all the time; ‘my kids are all just growing and changing so much these days!’

and, it’s so true.

our lives have been drastically redefined since we moved here to Kansas in March of 2014, and while i’m sporting a few more grey hairs and wrinkles than when we first came here, i think that my kids have had the most changes.

they’ve all made new friends, grown to love their family out here and they have just CHANGED.

i think about it when i look at each one of them, but in different ways.

with my oldest i especially think of what a great, great young man he is becoming.

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i know he’s going to tell the story of life pre and post Kansas differently than what i will, and i’m okay with that.  as i’ve seen him go through all these changes, it’s been hard to watch at times. hard because i couldn’t ‘fix’ it and the hard times were caused by the decisions his father and i have made.

he’s dealt with things in his own way and his own time.

he’s spent lots of time outside with his dog and his gun.

and, a few weeks ago, i decided i wanted to go out with him and get some pictures of him going about his favorite activity.

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he spends hours out in the pasture with his pellet gun and his dog.

he’s a great shot with that gun and his dog is quite loyal toward his loving master.

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it’s been so great to watch him become a ‘farm boy’. he has enthusiastically embraced the outdoors and the cowboy boots and hats and the bill caps and ripped up jeans.

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none of us wants to be one of those parents who are nonstop bragging and boasting about their kids, so it’s a fine line to talk about my kids in a gushing way….but, i look at this oldest son of mine and just feel so grateful that God put him in our family. i feel so glad that i get the chance to be his mom. i feel so grateful for the young man he is becoming and i pray every day that God will continue to lead and direct in his life so that he grows up to be a man after God’s heart. the thing about growing and changing is it’s not just a physical thing; i see God growing and changing my son and that, is the most exciting growth and change that a mom’s heart could ask for.

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♥~R

 

 

 

 

today….

 

since i’m resolved to get in more blogging over the next couple of slower months here, i thought i would try a new (to me) format/journal idea. i’ve always enjoyed the ‘daybook’ format in the past and yet, it can get a little redundant. so….

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What is the first thing that i did this morning.

coffee. no question. every morning i am lucky enough to wake up to coffee already brewed thanks to my dear husband who faithfully readies the coffee pot the night before. and since he gets up before me, i come downstairs and it’s like a magnetic fields surrounds that corner of my kitchen and i stumble there without even thinking. i drink from the same mug with the same creamer in the same spot and it just starts my day off right to have a brief period of time where i can drink in both the coffee and the quiet before the kids are all up and about their days.

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One challenge i’ve faced today.

hmmm…well, to be honest; muscle cramps in my leg. trivial really, but frustrating. i put Kate in the jogging stroller and we walked to and from my parents so that i could get in some kind of low-key work out and while it’s still not right, i think it’s loosened up the muscles some.

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One accomplishment for today.

10 loaves of bread baked for our family. last week i had a BIG baking day on Thursday and it kind of did me in for wanting to be in the kitchen any more than i had to, but the kids kept complaining about the menagerie of food i was throwing together for their lunches because we were out of bread, so i baked again today. ten loaves will usually last us right at two weeks and i try to plan out when i bake around what other things i have going on in my weeks. the weather was lovely today too for bread baking, so that was the perfect thing for this Thursday morning.

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One thing i’ve learned today.

this lesson is actually more from yesterday, but tis fresh on my mind today too…this thing of how every day is a gift. it’s not a new lesson, but it seems God brings reminders that jolt me back to the reality that nothing, noone should ever be taken for granted. going on that walk with Kate this afternoon and listening to her cheerful voice singing to her baby the whole way to grandma’s house and i just wanted to pause time and her and my other kids too….sometimes when i look at how blessed i am i could just cry. life is such a gift.

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One tasty thing i ate today.

apple pie, and cheese. that’s actually two things, i know, but two of my favorites. we’re going out for supper tonight, so i expect there will be more tasty things to consume, so it’s good i limited my caloric intake to just a sliver of pie, right?! 😉

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til next time,

R.

 

 

a little life here…

right now, there’s mac-n-cheese about to be done in the oven, the kids are watching a movie, and the husband is out hunting. the days are getting shorter and shorter. i’m looking forward to the time change on Sunday so that we get some earlier light in the mornings, but blah on the even shorter evenings. except that for real; i’m looking forward to the rest of the fall and winter and the chance to get some things done inside and enjoy homemaking with more purpose again.

our summer was full and went fast. i love every season, and more and more i enjoy all the different aspects of each seasons change. summer was full of work and more work, but it was also full of lots of time as a family here on our homestead. i wish i would have done a better job of blogging over the last months, but time seriously did not allow. i’ve thought time and time again that i’m going to blog, but there were just way too many other things taking precedence on a daily basis. i’ve kept up my instagram pretty faithfully and i do love that, but i’ve missed the chance to come here and dump photos and words. so, i’m starting to see that maybe blogging, just like being a better homemaker, is a seasonal thing for me in this stage of life. there’s just so many things constantly requiring attention and energy, and obviously, we all have to prioritize. getting to the place where i’m okay with having to prioritize in different ways is a learning process for me. if you bear with me, that’ll be great. 😉

over the summer months, there was so much work to do in the garden and with that came canning and putting food by. i still dream of having a summer kitchen in our little house out back, but for this summer, productivity carried on inside the farmhouse kitchen. it is certainly a lot of work to can, but it is so rewarding to me. and, to know where our food comes from, and what is in it; love that.

last week we dug the sweet potatoes, and that wrapped up the garden for the summer of 2015. i expect i’ll be taking sweet potato souffle to every carry-in at church from now til the next decade. well, maybe not quite that long, but it was a good crop and although not all the little people in this house enjoy them as much as Tim and i do, i’ll keep fixing them and hoping for the best.

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Tim’s parents came for a visit earlier this month and it was great to see them again. we did a little sight-seeing with them and tried to show them a good time here in our world.

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my kids; they have been growing like weeds. i guess it’s all the fresh air and outside play and non-stop eating of everything in sight.

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time has past by here this evening and, the mac-n-cheese was delicious, the dishes are done and hopefully the husband will be home soon from his hunt.

til next time…

Rachel

 

 

pictures of how lately we’ve….

had a little girl turn 3…

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had company from Pennsylvania and did some sight seeing around here…

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worked in the garden…lots!

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helped with chicken chores…

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and, other things besides this.

it seems the time this summer has just flown by and while we’ve been busy, in some ways, i don’t know where the time, the days have gone.

school will soon be starting and we’ll enter back into the routine of having a routine.

in the meantime, we’ll keep on with the things we’re busy with and hopefully there will be time sometime soon for a bit more blogging.

hope your summer is going well.

♥~

Rach

hashtag: follow Friday…

so, i’m going to piggy-back off of Instagram today and do a #followfriday.

instagram is, hands down, my favorite social media outlet.

it’s a place where i can land my phone pictures that capture quick and or meaningful moments from my days.

it’s a place where i can follow others on adventures i will never get the chance to have and in my seeing the world through their eyes, i feel inspired to better capture the little world i live in now.

it’s a place where i can get ideas for anything from home and gardening, to travel and sightseeing, and so very much more.

it can be tricky though too, just like any social media outlet.

in those little square frames where i am free to like or comment, i have to realize i’m seeing only a small frame of what may be a completely different reality.

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(^^our cherry trees yielded well this year and thanks to a friend loaning me their cherry stoner, we made quick work of several gallon for the freezer.)

for me, when i don’t like something or don’t have anything to say, i walk away.

and, that’s how i treat instagram.

my real life has enough real life drama that i don’t feel the need to enter into more drama through social media in any way shape or form.

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sure, there are things i see there that bother me, but it’s not my reality and it’s not my place to enter in and try to rectify a wrong i’m not (in real life) a part of.

so, these are just a few of the things i like about instagram style of social media.

it works for me.

and, i really didn’t intend for this to be a rant about instagram, but there you have it nonetheless.

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(^^new potatoes from the garden for supper the other night. YUM!)

back to #followfriday.

when i first entered the blogging world some 8 years ago, i spent more time reading other blogs than i do now.

i still have a small handful that i really love and those i am going to share here today.

(i will say right off the bat, that i do not completely agree with some of these bloggers and or their ways of life, and that is mine and your free choice(s). my likes and dislikes for these spaces are obviously based on what i see thru images and words framed and filtered for social media and i am well aware these are not the whole of their reality. just like there is much more going on in my life than what i post here, i am sure the same can be said for these.)

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Kelle Hampton is still one of my most favorite bloggers.

i love how she captures moments, how she writes with a wide range of emotions, and how she has stayed the course with her blog and continued to be the blogger i first followed several years back.

her photos are, as she put it, ‘organic’.

i love that about her blog space; photos that are not perfect, and more importantly, not photo-shopped beyond reality.

of course it’s small frames and maybe not all of her reality, but i’m not going to keep giving that disclaimer.

you know what i mean.

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Grace Lee Cottage is a space i enjoy for home inspiration and DIY ideas galore.

 

to me, seeing her transform her kitchen space especially with easy, cost-effective steps is inspirational.

beings we are in that state of DIY here in our old farmhouse, blogs like hers are a breath of fresh air.

the post on her kitchen counter top paint job gives me hope for our nasty white counter tops to someday have a new life. 😉

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Yan Palmer.

i follow her instagram feed and sometimes i’m like ‘nah, that’s not going to cut it’ and then other times, most times, i just get a kick out of her work.

her blog is sporadically updated and she’s into film images, but i just like how she captures the everyday, the unstaged and the (sometimes) ugly truth.

her words are sometimes shallow and sometimes deep.

i think you either like her style or you don’t.

for now, i like it.

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now, for Elizabeth Marie, i can say that i have met her and her reality and it’s the real deal.

she has the cutest family, the most doting husband, and she herself is one of the nicest people you will ever meet.

if only the distance were not so great between her state and mine, i am just sure we would do a lot of things with her and her family.

one time they came to visit us when we lived in Pennsylvania, and my husband and i often talk about that weekend and how much we all loved them.

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(^^if it looks like i have chickens everywhere, it’s because, well…i do. )

i’ve met other bloggers in real life that i could also endorse as being the real deal.

this old world is actually not just full of people that are not what they say they are.

there are some, yes, but as my brother in law once put it to me, ‘there’s actually a lot of good people out there.’

and, with these words, i am going to wrap it up.

i hear the kids waking up and tromping downstairs and within moments, i am going to be hit with a barrage of ‘what’s for breakfast?’ and truth be told, we’re getting company for the weekend, so i need to get back to the old list of things to do.

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have a lovely weekend, friends!

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♥~R

 

 

 

 

 

 

on rain and knowing your place….

truth be told, i could tell you more about rain than i could knowing your place.

although both subjects are close to my heart right now, talking about rain is easier.

because, sometimes knowing your place takes a lot more time and effort than you (i) want to put into it.

but, strangely enough, i feel like the two subjects go together for me right now.

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you see, out here, rain and weather and the skies are a big deal.

when a storm is in the forecast, you sit up and take notice.

you watch the clouds, you notice the wind direction, and; you pray.

when we were at a recent community gathering, i sat back deep in thought as the speaker made an announcement about the dire forecasts for the afternoon, and how that could affect the events planned.

it was with a sense of reverence that every head was bowed and the prayer of ‘protect us from harmful weather’ was agreed upon.

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while it may not affect others in this way, and maybe it’s just where i’m at in life right now, but it moves me deeply to come together in prayer and recognize God’s control and sovereignty over our lives as we ask Him to protect us from danger from the skies above.

maybe it’s just this thing of how the weather it is a common bond that unites us whether we want it to or not.

or, maybe it is a thing of recognizing that our place here on earth is only as God sees fit and in our recognizing His control over the weather, we in turn submit to Him for our very existence.

i think it’s both actually.

it brings me to a place of reverence and awe to hear people praying to God about the weather and the rains.

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i haven’t lived here long enough to feel like i know my place in every area, but i’m starting to see that maybe, we are bound by elements as simple or as complex as the weather and in that, we truly find our place.

because i haven’t lived here long, i feel like i need to earn my right to pray for God’s protection from harmful weather and yet i know i don’t.

God hears me from any place i’m in and for that i am grateful.

His grace is not dependent upon my knowing exactly what my place is.

and, His mercy is new for each day of pleasant or harmful weather.

maybe it’s ‘out there’ to think of being reverent and awed by the weather to you.

it’s mystifying for sure.

but, when you’ve sat there and watched heads bow and know that many of those heads have seen things from the skies that i have not, and that many of those heads bowed have a livelihood that depends upon what God gives thru the weather, it is humbling.

it calls me to respect the Giver of rain and storms and to respect the years of experience that call upon a Mighty God to protect us from harmful weather.

the rains have been coming and watering the earth here and in turn we thank God for his provision.

and, so, as we do thank Him for providing, it seems to me that it helps us, me, find a place.

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a place of belonging to a God who made not only heaven and earth, but each one of us.

may we ever know His sovereignty and greatness as we see Him not only in the sunshine but in the rains too.

He is indeed a God of wonders.

 

 

 

 

 

currently….

(thanks to inspiration from this blogger, i’m trying this format today…)

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these days i am….

Reading:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. To me, it is a fascinating look at awareness on where our foods come from and how we can be intentional about making choices today that will leave a positive impact on the coming generations.

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(^there was much anticipation and excitement around the arrival of two miniature donkeys. i think they are so cute!)

Watching:

Two little birds outside my kitchen window the last few days. And, my chickens just out from the kitchen as they peck and scratch and peck and scratch some more.

Trying:

To get rid of this cough that has plagued me for the last two weeks. Compared to lying on the couch most of last Monday, I’m great, but it’s still really annoying.

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Cooking:

I had a chicken carcass in the crockpot overnight, so today I’ll be making a big pot of chicken noodle soup. It is a chilly, cloudy and (of course) windy day here, so it’s most definitely a ‘soup day’ in my opinion.

Baking:

Nothing today. Yesterday I did 10 loaves of bread, so the oven can take a break today. Me too.

Eating:

We had a coffee cake for breakfast. Especially delicious because someone else made it for us!

Drinking:

Two cups of coffee as soon as I rolled out of bed, and then water to try and stop coughing. I made a large batch of garden tea concentrate yesterday, so we have that in the fridge right now too. So refreshing!

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Calling:

Today, probably not making phone calls. Yesterday I made several calls and that is not the norm for me. I talked on the phone with one of my dearest friends in PA that I miss So much. That hour and a half of time was like balm to my soul.

Pinning:

All things gardening and chickens. I have several ideas forming in my head for a chicken project and i do not tire of gardening ideas. Ever.

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Tweeting:

Really? No, I seriously question the necessity of facebook in my life that another social media outlet holds zero interest to me.

Crafting:

Ha. I have good intentions for several pieces of fabric sitting on my desk, but the days are just not long enough. Or else my interests and to-do lists are just too long…

Going:

Nowhere today if I can help it.

Loving:

This beautiful time of the year and the wonderful rains God has recently blessed us with. The outside world is so lush and green right now, and my garden is absolutely exploding with beauty.

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Discovering:

That something can so easily be made from nothing. If you are willing to put the sweat equity into it anyhow.

Enjoying:

These days of summer vacation with the kids home. Having no schedule is a nice change from the past several months.

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Finishing:

Mulching the garden this week. And, planting sweet potatoes too, I hope.

Considering:

Plans for this coming holiday weekend. Hoping we can squeeze in some fun amidst the work that needs done around here.

Celebrating:

Maybe nothing ‘big’ right now, but being grateful for health and life and these four children and my faithful husband. Everyday is certainly worth celebrating God’s goodness to me.

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And, lastly, I’m so thankful for imaginative play and the great outdoors for these kids to explore.

Here’s to more forts and fewer fights this summer!!

love,

Rachel

 

 

 

 

postponed…

you know how when you’re in the middle of blogging and life has to happen around you at the same time?

strike that, reverse it.

truth be told, i’m in the middle of LIFE and IF blogging happens; BONUS!!

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(a storm on the horizon last Saturday night… followed by…)

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(…a double rainbow.)

because last weekend was a short getaway for our 14th (belated) anniversary, and i have been in the middle of working outside when the weather allows, and the never-ending loads of laundry and the three meals a day that a family requires, my earlier stated giveaway for this week is going to have to be postponed.

not cancelled; postponed.

and, that’s okay.

for me anyhow. 😉

yesterday was an epic day of exchanging plants with ladies in the little community we live in, and then working outside a bit in the afternoon in my developing gardens.

it was followed by a night of sleeplessness thanks to the littlest sister being up three times with a stuffy, runny nose and in general not feeling right.

it’s one thing to have to get up in the night with the kids, but it’s a whole other thing to not be able to go back to sleep for a LONG TIME after being up.

so, today is not the ‘get-this-house-in-order-day’ that i had envisioned.

it’s more the ‘do-what-ever-you-want-kids,’ day.

(proud mom moment, indeed.)

but, that’s okay too.

i did manage to get two of Brent’s kindergarten lessons done, a load of wash run thru and started a movie for the little ones, and gave them a snack so i could sit here for a few.

i can already tell there’s going to be coffee in my afternoon.

i’m looking forward to a weekend at home and working more outside and somehow, getting this house in order.

maybe a few yard sales and a starbucks coffee will get thrown in there somewhere too.

somewhere in the middle of LIFE happening.

so, for now…all the wishes.

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for a good night of sleep tonight for one thing.

happy Thursday, and i WILL be back with a giveaway.

soon!

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♥~R

weekend random…

you know how when you’re supposed to be doing something and it’s a dreary, rainy morning and you’ve already had two big cups of coffee, and your kids are licking giant lollipops on the sofa while watching ‘Doc McStuffin’, and you really need to get back to the business at hand, but you’re just sort of messing around and avoiding the matter at hand, so you decide it would be a good time to throw out a little blog post?

(hashtag long-winded, bunny-trail sentence.)

welcome to that moment.

and, since this is all-over the map random, i’ll keep the pictures consistent with that theme….

this recipe has become a favorite in our household….

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the fruit trees in our small orchard have given us their flowery show…

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the currant bushes growing alongside my Potting Shed are pretty and the fragrance is spicey-sweet…

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kids need dirt to grow, right?!

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this dog that we love….but sometimes i really don’t.

like when she’s demolished my plant from the front porch or when she’s chewing on the wicker chairs, or when she’s running down the chicken that escaped…

puppies.

but, for real….

as much joy and enthusiasm as she brings to my oldest son’s life, i cannot stay mad at her for too long. and, you gotta admit; she’s really quite a handsome looking dog.

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someone turned 6 last week.

it was a pretty good day if i do say so myself.

like every other mother out there; i wonder how it can be that my sweet boy is growing up so fast.

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take it from me; if you buy the little set of ‘happy birthday’ candles at Target, make sure you have ALL of the letters in the pack BEFORE you take them home and start putting them into your sons birthday cake.

or else, you might end up with ‘happy birhday’.

so, we went with happy bday and 6 yellow candles and called it good.

he won’t remember, but it bugged his mother who does not like things misspelled.

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and, in case you wondered, the sun is most definitely still giving us beautiful shows as it rises and sets out here on the prairie.

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and, since so much of my life revolves around food, i will give you this main dish that we love…

a pair of finches have claimed my porch wreath for their home…

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i hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Rachel

ps….

turns out this is my 150th blog post on this little space, so, how about a giveaway next week because of that?!

see you then!

 

miscellaneous Monday…

the puppy that is Joice, and how much she is loved by all…

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if you follow me on instagram, you might recognize my hashtag Kate takes anything she can…

she is a little squirt.

and then some.

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Brent’s bunnies…

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a few weeks ago when these two were traipsing out to play…

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fog on the farm…

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trying to get everyone to look my way, AND smile, AND open their eyes…

ha ha.

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in two weeks he is going to be 6.

6????

slow down time, slow down.

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i’m realizing that this one is the most cooperative when it comes to taking the kids pictures.

well, sort of.

she’s at least the slowest to get away from me.

i’ll take what i can…

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this boy of ours does like basketball. and, cowboy boots. it’s high time i find him another pair of boots, don’t you think?

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Brent is working hard on his kindergarten work…

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littlest sister doesn’t like to be left out. of anything.

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this girl….she’s not a mushy-gushy kind of person. but, when she says something, you know she means it.

unbeknownst to me, she was making me a card in this picture.

i will treasure it forever.

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and, that’ll do it for today.

the kids are back to school after having last week off.

we’re all in ‘get back to routine’ mode today.

have a great Monday!

love,

R

 

random retrospect…

you know what they say….’hindsight is always 20/20′.

but, what i’d like to know is this: when is it that we really come to the place of hindsight?

i tend to think that it varies.

i’m ruminating on these sort of things because it’s been a year of living in Kansas for our family, and there are some things i see clearer than i did one year ago, but i can’t say that everything is 20/20.

i think i can see a lot of the answers to why we are not where we were, but maybe the answers to why we are here seem blurry still.

i’m truly okay with that.

it’s a funny thing to look back on this past year of Major Change.

in some ways it feels like such a short span of time, and then in others ways, it doesn’t.

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(^^a picture i took of my sister and her family)

two things that stand out to me about this past year are lessons of trust and grace.

trust in that there were (and still are) days where the questions are clearer than the answers for a lot of the why’s of our being here…

trust in that we’ve had to tell our children to trust us when this experience has been HARD on them and even as we tell them that we quake within ourselves because we don’t really know what we are asking of them in that…

trust in that i know it is a Great God who knows all of our days and He has ordained them all and in that i can find rest even on the days when i fear the unknowns…

grace in that i have had, and most definitely am still learning how, to give myself grace when everything in me wants to strive for something else…

grace in that i’ve had to learn how to extend that in new ways toward others that relate and are different than i…

grace in that we’ve had to learn how to give that to each other as we have all gone thru this change and have been affected in just as many different ways…

grace in that i have had to accept that from the Lord as i have wondered what my, our place is here and He is, ironically, again, asking for trust.

the two undoubtedly go hand in hand.

i’m not sure if you can have grace without trust, or if trust can take root in a heart without grace…

either way.

retrospect is to look back on, contemplation.

our lives are defined by events that change our course.

for the good or the bad.

how the events of my life change me for the good or the bad….again, grace.

and, when i think about it like that, it is so what i want to extend toward others.

because, really, we are all on a life-changing journey every day.

the events may seem small and insignificant, and some are, but they all add up to a life lived.

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(^^last summers blood moon.)

moving on to other things about the change of life…

life in Kansas is vastly different than life in Pennsylvania was.

things are much slower here.

there are way less people.

making a living thru agriculture is the norm here.

those three things i absolutely LOVE.

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we live on a dirt road that sees so little traffic.

truth be told, i would say that there are more pieces of farm equipment driven past our house than there are vehicles.

our children are learning that you tell directions not by turning left or right, but by going east or west.

on our 7 acres we have more outbuildings than i ever dreamed we could have.

our children literally spend entire days outside in imaginary play.

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i now see the need for each of them to own a decent pair of cowboy boots as more practical than a decent pair of sneakers.

instead of planning and caring for a large flower garden as i did in PA, i am now planning and starting a large vegetable garden in our back yard.

i ordered seeds from a catalog for the first time in my life and am so anxious to get them all started.

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we built a cold-frame two weeks ago for the purpose of starting vegetables and i’m excited to see how it will also serve me year round here.

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we spend our weekends working around our homestead….with all our outbuildings and pasture, there is much that can be done.

one thing that i have realized i’ve let go of since moving onto our homestead is that i take less pictures.

which, i really do not like.

this is most definitely a stage and time in our families life that i want to remember, and i am going to have to purpose to get out my big camera more. it takes time and effort for me because i can always be busy and about something here, but in the midst of that, there are many things i want to document and remember thru my camera.

i MUST do better in that.

our home is a continual work in progress.

we kind of hit the brakes after we moved in here last October.

we recently started scheming and dreaming about how to update the bathrooms.

i’m not even kidding when i say they are tiny and FAR from what would be ideal.

they work, and i’ve had worse.

but, still.

they leave a lot to be desired.

it all takes time and money, and sometimes you just come up short on both, ya know?!

i’ve  recently become obsessed familiar with Joanna Gaines and her HGTV show Fixer Upper, and her blog Magnolia Homes. watching her show has encouraged me to think outside of the box even more. and, i LOVE her style in her Texas farmhouse. it’s a bit too white on white for me, but the overall style i really find inspiring.

i wish i could pick her brain on our bathroom situations.

but, in the meantime, i guess i’ll keep watching her transform homes and draw inspiration from that.

anyhow…

this week our kids have spring break and it’s so awesome to have a more relaxed way of starting out the mornings.

today the kids are going to have chores to do around here so that we can do some other things the rest of the week.

work first, play later.

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i better scoot along.

thanks for stopping by, and skimming thru this random post.

i hope to be back soon.

love,

Rachel

 

Miscellaneous Monday…

it’s been a long time since i’ve done Miscellaneous Monday, so, yay me.

it’s actually Monday and i’m pulling it off.

….

i’ll start with a weather report from the plains:

it was 75° here yesterday with clear blue skies and very little wind.

in other words; perfection for February 8.

today started out sunny and crisp, and it was the strangest thing; around 8:45 am, fog rolled in and it was unreal. visibility was less than a quarter mile, but it was so pretty.

i actually like the grey, foggy, and dreary days.

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i think there’s so much beauty in the midst of the grey.

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Ava’s class had a ‘Little House on the Prairie’ thing at school two weeks ago.

she was totally into it.

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we kept the whole thing pretty simple really; a pair of leather, lace-up shoes, a vintage apron and sunbonnet paired with a rag doll, braids and a basket instead of her usual lunchbox.

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it was the cutest thing.

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not to be left out, the littlest sister took her turn with the bonnet.

this girl….

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you just can’t imagine how much personality she has.

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her outfit the afternoon we were snapping these pictures was…colorful?

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yes.

definitely matches her personality.

but, as i said before, i see so much beauty in the grey too…

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///

Seth was super excited about last weeks ‘crazy hair day’ in his class.

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seeing him be into the spirit of this day was such a big moment for me.

to see him ‘find his place’ brings happy, grateful tears to my eyes.

he is such a great kid.

and, next week he turns 11???

slow down time, slow down.

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along with these recent days of warm weather, there’s been much outdoor play happening here.

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the kids are home from school and i really need to start supper.

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see the beauty in the grey days.

enjoy!

love,

Rachel

 

 

 

my worst performance…

i’ve been thinking about performance and acceptance.

how, being in a relationship where you are accepted based on your performance is so hard.

how, noone wins in that kind of thing.

how, If your acceptance of me is based on how well i perform, our relationship will only be as good as my worst performance.

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because really, it’s not my best performances that set the standard for your acceptance.

you’ll want to accept me on my good performing days, and it’ll make me feel less edgy.

but, on those days when my performance is lousy and your acceptance is gone…unfortunately, those are the days where reality lives.

the reality that i will not always be able to please you and that i will never be able to ‘live up’ to the standard of your acceptance.

i think about this because i’m muddling my way through something like this.

and, maybe you can relate.

and, maybe you cannot.

either way.

it seems to me that it’s not a new thing to wrestle with performance based acceptance.

it happens in our marriages, our families, our friendships, our work relationships, our churches.

it takes on a form all its own in our minds when we feel like God doesn’t love us unless we do ‘such-and-so’.

but, that’s the very place where we should never even once have a thought of performance based acceptance.

because if we truly embraced and accepted and understood God’s great love for us, we would know with all that we are that this is not a valid concern.

in all honesty?

this is mind-blowing for me to even begin to understand.

and, sadly, i think it’s because i’ve been trapped in the snare of performing for acceptance.

not in all areas, and not in a lot of levels.

but, in just enough areas of my life that it’s become confusing to how i relate and react.

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so, i’m sitting back here thinking these things and looking at my stuff and saying ‘i’m just broke.’

broken feels like of little worth, like giving very little effort.

and, this song…

this song that really is about broken in a marriage relationship, rings in my head over and again.

this song that talks about disappointment and forgiveness and wishing for less scars and more grace…

and how we are not meant to be complete on our own.

maybe it’s that we have to let all of the ugly, broken, all of the fight and all of the shattered dreams fall together for a more beautiful picture.

maybe letting go of the hopes and wishes, the hurts and disappointments will bring us together.

maybe it won’t be in the time table that we would wish for.

and, maybe it won’t be in the way that we wish.

but, maybe, together looks different when it’s broken.

maybe broken looks whole when it’s together.

i like that picture.

that picture where even though things are ugly and disappointing and broken, if it’s brought to Jesus, if it’s brought together in Him, it’s whole.

broken together seems so contradictory on the surface, but deep down, or maybe even just below the surface, it’s no contradiction at all.

and, so, while i know that God sees me for more than my worst performance, the reality is His acceptance is always the same no matter my performance.

my worst, broken performance garners His unconditional acceptance.

oh, for Grace to trust Him more.

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with love,

Rachel

a little bedroom redo…

first of all.

there is no perfection in our home.

period.

we live very much within our means.

and, i try really hard to make do with what we have.

it’s not what everyone would love, and it’s not what they have to love.

but, i for one, love making something out of what is not much.

and, the something i make out of things is most likely not the same something you would make of it.

this, to me, is what makes us all unique and gives us the opportunity to bring out our various talents and ‘styles.’

my style will always be a love for the old, the real wood, the mix of ‘junk’ with treasure, the neutral tones and the earthy colors.

i also have a lot of things in my home that have sentimental value to me.

they have a story that goes with them, and to me, that is kind of a big deal.

i could probably tell you a story about nearly every piece of furniture that we have in this house.

the stories might bore you to tears, but they mean something to me.

i think that’s part of what draws me to the things i like; the stories that go with them.

anyhow.

last week, three days before Christmas, i decided to tackle the bedroom redo for our (master) bedroom.

when we first moved into our homestead, we put our bedroom downstairs where the previous occupants had had theirs. i was not thrilled with it, but it was what we went with for the time being.

we do have a ‘someday’ plan for the space that is now our bedroom, and i guess when we first moved here, we figured we would just go with the bedroom downstairs until the ‘someday’ plan could be fulfilled.

well.

if we always wait til everything is as we hope it will be ‘someday’ we will not enjoy what there is to be enjoyed in the meantime.

that’s how i see it anyhow.

so, we measured the space of our downstairs bedroom and the room upstairs that we wanted to make into our room.

the space was within a square foot of being the same, but the layout is SO much better in this upstairs bedroom.

this room is not big, but, it’s not tiny either.

the walls in our house are all plaster walls, and most of them are not in really great shape.

the one wall in our bedroom in particular is really pretty bad. as in: a large crack the entire width of the wall, plus a couple of decent sized holes.

as i was looking at this room and trying to get the vision for what i wanted it to be, i remembered the little ‘book page’ wall i had back at our other house, and bingo!

i had a vision for the room!

the walls that are not as badly in need of repair i decided to just paint, because, me and stenciled butterflies in the master bedroom…nah.

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(obviously, i’m big into selfies. or, not.)

two coats of paint, two old books, and three rolls of scotch tape later:

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^^ this picture is taken from the corner where the book page wall is. the door on the left side of the picture, beside of the dresser goes into a large room that is now storage. ‘someday’ this room will become an extension of this room and will include a walk-in closet, bathroom and sitting area. the door with the ‘love’ sign is our closet.

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i’ve not painted the closet yet, obviously. but, i am kind of pleased with the arrangement that it is for now. we took two tension rods and hung them above the pegboard ledge that is mounted around the perimeter of the closet. we each have a side for our clothes and, plenty of floor space for shoes.

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i’m pretty practical when it comes to the functionality of our bedroom. this antique clothes-tree that i bought for $5 at a yard sale is draped with things like sweatshirts and pj’s.

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i’m always going to love the practicality that my Longaberger baskets provide throughout our home. that, and they are from Ohio, and so am i deep down in my heart, so they remind me of where i come from.

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the floor in this room is hardwood. but, it is not in the best of shape. this sisal rug that i purchased at an Etc. Shoppe here in Kansas covers up some of it’s ugliness, and, adds a warm, earthy tone to the room that i really love.

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this is the wall that the doorway into the room from the hall is on, and our bed is along the wall to the left of the doorway. Tim’s dresser is behind the door, and across from the dresser is a mirror and our clothes hamper. isn’t the corner trim amazing?!

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little bits of detail:

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^^a little winter vignette inside of my huge Pottery Barn lantern that sits on my dresser.

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^^we were just KIDS when we got married!!!

and, that’s about all.

it’s so, so much better than the room that we had been in.

there are still things i want to do in the room, like an actual curtain instead of just a piece of cloth draped over the rod…the bed needs new pillows and a cover for the box spring…the walls are void of much decor…a nightstand for both sides of the bed would be nice…matching lampshades are on my ‘watch for’ list…and so on.

but.

maybe, just maybe, you seeing how we live with what is reasonable and practical in our now will encourage you in how your home comes together.

THAT is my hope for this little post.

with love,

Rachel

 

 

 

 

etcetera

since it’s not Monday, i guess i can’t call this Miscellaneous Monday.

so, i’m going with etc.

this could also be the post titled ‘where the pictures are sort of blurry and the house is LIVED IN!’

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so, this is basically a montage of things that don’t go together, but are worth mentioning none-the-less.

i’m frying hamburger for quesadillas for supper.

i like to add spinach into our diet whenever i can, and why not in a quesadilla?

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i had my mom and sister and sister-in-law over for brunch yesterday.

nothing fancy; just a chance to get together.

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it lightly snowed last night.

so peaceful.

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Christmas is a week from tomorrow.

i finished my shopping up Tuesday, AND wrapped all the goodies last night after the kids were in bed.

yay me!

i’m still vascilating on the teacher gifts, but i’ve got a start on it:

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i need to make peanut brittle, more caramel corn, and some pumpkin rolls yet before the holidays.

the kids watched Little House on the Prairie.

turns out, they’re kind of living that these days too.

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this is the ‘island’ we made from the drawers of an old desk that was here, and an old barn door that one of my neighbors in PA gave to me.

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i LOVE it.

so much.

it also accomplishes the dream i always had for my scale:

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someday, the floor will be different in this room.

until then, linoleum lives on.

i am so not a fan.

but, little by little we will get to where we want to be in this house.

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as circumstance would have it, i have a chicken tractor and 8 chickens on loan right now.

it’s such a simple thing, but i am SO excited to have them.

hopefully in the spring i will get my own flock and have them somewhere else, but for now, this is perfection.

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this is called: ‘smile for me so i can send a picture back East!’

always a good time:

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this post could also be called: ‘why i won’t be using my 18-55mm lens anymore.’

what a mess of blur.

my amazon wishlist has an alternative option on it, but alas, i’ll be saving my change for a ‘leetle’ while yet. =)

it’s time to go to the ‘listen and do’ program at the library.

be back soon.

love,

Rachel

 

 

from scratch

after being M.I.A. in the blogging world for what feels like a really long time, how do you come back?!?
why even bother?
i’m asking the same old questions, over and again, aren’t i?
i know.

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so, because i’m sick of asking them, and you are probably sick of reading them, how about if we do a ‘start from scratch’ here on this little blog.
a ‘let’s start and tell the story of me, of us, from this point onward, but including the pieces that got us to here’.
ok?
okay!
i remember the very thing i wrote about when i published my first blog post 7 plus years ago; i wrote a fictional little saga based on a ‘mouse in the house’ experience we were in the midst of in our home at that time.
why on earth i did that, eh, let’s just call it water under the bridge and don’t look back! =)
today i am:
Rachel.
a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend.
and, while i’ve noticed it seems popular to say; ‘i am a daughter of the King’, and yes, i am, i think that more than i want you to read that about me, i want to live that with all that i am.
in 2013, my husband and i made the life-changing decision for our family that we would step out in faith and lay down a role of leadership in a church we really loved, we would put our house on the market, and lay a fleece of ‘we are willing to move to Kansas Lord, if this is what You want, and we will do it when You say.’
(i wrote about that part of our story here.)
Five months later, we had packed up all of our earthly belongings, driven 1,300 miles and were residing in Kansas.
there are many, many things i could tell you about this piece of our story, and some days, i think i should tell this story.
but, most days, i just ponder it in my heart and feel like the timing is not right and i’m not ready to tell all that i could.
maybe someday i will, or maybe i won’t.
our coming to Kansas was both bitter and sweet.
bitter in that we left friends and family that we had been with for the entire 13 years of our marriage and it was the only home our children had ever known. leaving those dearest to you is undoubtedly never an easy thing.
being here has been sweet in that we now live close to all but one of my siblings and my parents are 1 1/4 miles down the road from us and there are cousins and aunts and uncles that before we would see maybe once a year.
i think it goes without saying that when you make a radical life-change there are bound to be adjustments and hard pieces.

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(^^all the colors of the rainbow for a girl turning 8!!)
it’s one thing to move you and your spouse 1,300 miles and start life anew, but factor in 4 children doing it with you and not only do you have your own things to work through, you have theirs to help them through….
what mother’s heart doesn’t just ache when her children are struggling?
a lot of this year has been that for me.
not all of the time, and not all of the children at once, thankfully.
but, there have been many a time when i just wanted to undo all of this and make things like they used to be so that my children wouldn’t have to hurt and feel displacement.
i’ve wanted to just ‘fix’ the ache and homesickness they were in the midst of.
and, yet i can’t.
i can’t do that for myself, let alone them.
because i’m a mother, it seems that my days are consumed with the well-being of my family and while that is my story, the way my children are reacting to this and how they are dealing with this is largely their story.
i struggle to know where the line is in that part of life, but i do feel strongly that the way they will someday tell this story and the way i am seeing them live it out may very well not be one and the same.
i am really okay with that, and i want to protect their privacy and guard their hearts as much as i can as i talk about how life is for us here.
it’s taken me back in time over and again too.

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(Thanksgiving at my parents^^)

my own childhood had several major life-changing events that were not fun or easy for me, and i now know that those events had to have been even more difficult for my parents as they walked this same road of ‘major change’.
the road of ‘major change’ is not a smoothly paved surface nor is it always a straight line.
but.
in and through it all there is good.
lots, and lots of good.

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the longer time goes on, the more i feel at home here.
we are, after a longer than anticipated segment of time, in our own home!
i cannot tell you how good it feels to be ‘home.’
the first 8 months of our being in Kansas, we lived in a house that we knew from the start was temporary, and because of that, we put nearly all of our belongings into storage.
i feel so carnal to say this, but; i missed our stuff!!
i told myself many times that this was really the best deal for the time being, but i just missed not having familiar things around us.
i missed not having the opportunity to create.
it honestly felt like a large part of my life was on hold for over eight months.
when i unpacked my good dishes two weeks ago, i realized that they had all been packed since right after Christmas last year.
because of things like that, of course i am more grateful than ever to be where we are going to stay.
and, because homemaking is what i do, it is so good to be back in my little element.
we are working at things as we can here in this big old house and it is so rewarding to see the change take place. there are enough projects on our list to keep us busy for many years to come, and we are just fine with that.
i have more dreams for this place than i’ll probably ever be able to realize, but that’s okay.
we have lots of time.
God willing.

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so….
this will be it for now.
if you continue to follow along here you can expect to find me documenting this old house, our family, recipes, sunsets and sunrises and the usual miscellaneous that i have always found rather easy.
thank you for stopping by!
love,
Rachel

Miscellaneous Monday…

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^^the fog was gorgeous here two weeks ago. these two running around the pasture and barnyard is so fun to watch.^^

you know in the movie ‘Marley and Me’, where John Grogan is talking non-stop telling the story of how their life was playing out over the course of a decent span of time and he’s just talking on and on and interjecting little things that were significant and also pertaining to Marley?

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^^Seth’s  puppy Joice.^^

 

yes.

i feel like that is how i could post right now after how the last few months of our life have gone.

i could tell you many, many things that went down and pertained to us.

so many in fact, that i’m not really sure where to start and where to stop.

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^^from when my dear friend Kathryn was here and met my Katherine. my two favorites with that name ♥^^

 

two weeks or so ago, i received an email notification that someone had left a comment on a blog post.

obviously, my being away from my blog for so long hasn’t exactly led to an onslaught of comments, so i was pleasantly surprised when i saw i actually had a comment!

someone read my blog???

someone read my blog!!!

i went back and reread the post that the comment was on, and funny thing…

i’m still in that place where i wonder why i blog, and yet not ready to give it up, still wishing i had more time for it.

and, i’m obviously still in the place where the quickest, easiest way for me to blog is by ramblings and Miscellaneous.

when i woke up this morning i had grand ideals of writing some thank you notes, working on organizing pictures both on my computer and camera and taking time to write a nice decent blog post.

as it turns out, i have:

rigged up a decent pen out in the barn for the escaping puppy that was standing at the back door when we went to take school children to school…

washed the dishes in the sink from last nights popcorn and movie night and this mornings breakfast…

started a load of laundry…

ran to my mom’s and got a hydrangea bush i then brought home and planted in the flowerbed along with repotting two dwarf spruce trees in pots beside the front porch…

hung out two loads of laundry…

fixed lunch…

organized the medicine cabinet contents…

washed more clothes…

enlisted the husband to help kill a bull snake in the backyard that i almost stepped on…

dusted and straightened the living room…

and, now sitting here for a few minutes before i go pick up previously mentioned school children.

so much for catching up on the computer and decent blog posts.

this will have to do for now.

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^^Brent running by in a blur the other night when the sky was out of this world pretty.^^

 

i do intend to post some house pictures soon.

we are absolutely LOVING being here on our homestead.

loving it.

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^^no filter.^^

love,

Rachel

 

Homemade Bread

after longer than i wish, i’m here again.

hello.

i’ve missed this space.

missed it and yet, have had enough distractions that i’m not sure when i would have been here before now.

but, i’m hoping to get a few blog posts in over the next couple weeks before we move again.

yes, we are moving again and this time i am beyond excited and anxious and READY!!!!

not that our being here the last six months has been for naught, it’s just that we’ve been anticipating this next move since January, and we are so very, very excited for this next big phase of our journey.

but, back to today.

one of my INSTAGRAM friends asked if i could share my bread recipe.

and, since typing all that out on my iPhone isn’t my idea of a good time, i thought i would post the recipe here instead.

now, before i go any further, some disclaimers:

i am, by no means, a bread making expert.

i love making bread, but i am extremely critical of my own homemade breads.

i make a variety of recipes, and am always game for trying another new one.

i do not grind my own wheat.

but, someday i would really love to because i think that fresh ground wheat makes homemade bread better than better.

if you give me a loaf of homemade bread from your kitchen, i will undoubtedly think it is 100% better than what comes from my kitchen.

however.

this recipe that i am currently making is definitely one of my all-time favorites.

we all love it.

a lot.

i will still continue my quest for the next recipe that is an improvement over this one, because that’s how i am, but for real.

this recipe is not too shabby.

i hope that if you make it you enjoy it as much as we do.

/////

Whole Wheat Bread

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1 cup warm water

3 pks. (or, Tablespoons) dry yeast

2 Tablespoons honey

Combine and stir until dissolved. Set aside.

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1 1/2 cups milk, scalded

2/3 cup oil

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 Tablespoons sorghum molasses

4 teaspoons salt

Combine and stir until melted, and then add:

2 1/2 cups warm water

 When this is lukewarm, add yeast mixture and stir well.

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8 cups bread flour

4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup wheat germ

Combine flours and wheat germ, then add 5 cups of the combined dry ingredients to the liquid mixture beating well with an electric mixer. Let rest for 15 minutes.

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Add remaining flour and knead until smooth and elastic; at least 5 minutes.

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Place in greased pan and grease top.

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Cover and let rise until double.

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Punch down and shape into 5 loaves.

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Cover again and let rise until doubled in size.

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Bake at 350 degrees, on a low rack in the oven for 20-30 minutes.

Remove from oven, place on cooling rack and rub butter across the tops.

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Cover with wax paper and then a cloth until cool.

Slice, eat, enjoy!

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i will be back soon.

happy Tuesday!

love,

Rachel

 

just a few things…

can i be in love with a tree?

it’s not that i stand around hugging it or anything….

i just rather love this tree.

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if you are thinking about driving out to Colorado, and you want to pitstop in Kansas…

can i just say we love company?

and, when it’s company from far away, company that you don’t see often, it’s even more special.

this outstanding family here, they stopped in for supper and a couple of hours of visiting. it was short, but it was definitely sweet.

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Ava has loved this little flip camera.

she’s made plenty of goofy nonsense movies with it, but she’s also branching out into making short intelligent ones.

she also got some pretty cool shots the other night when we were out driving the countryside.

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these two snuggling on the chair together…

we’ve had a lot of long days and late nights the last while and i think it’s caught up with most of us today.

everyone is lying down as i type this.

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when sweet little friends from back East send mail to our girls…

such a highlight on this ordinary Tuesday.

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we took the kids to the splash park the other night.

after frolicking and playing in that for a long while, they were happy for the playground adjacent.

this shot of Ava doing the monkey bars…i kind of ♥ it.

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and all four of them.

a rare moment of pause.

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thanks to my kind and loving husband, we now have two big boxes of pears ripening in the laundry room.

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and, lastly, the sky on fire.

if only those power lines were not in the middle of the picture….

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i hope your week is off to a great start!

love,

Rachel

 

 

 

 

i’m a loser…

for real.

a big ol’ loser.

i could probably create my own reality t.v. show having to do with being a loser.

it’s this little game i play where every.single.time. i play, i lose.

big time.

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(^^that one time i tried to let them play in the rain, but it was way too cold, and they came in two minutes later)

it’s this game where i play solo and yet, still come out as the biggest loser.

it’s the game of comparison.

the game where i look around and compare and just plain old lose.

maybe you are familiar with this game?

or, maybe you’re not.

either way.

what got me thinking about it was this:

i recently heard someone stating their disappointment with what someone else was doing, and i sat back all smug and thought to myself ‘YOU compare that and yet, look what YOU are doing that is not any better?!’

and, then i was so taken aback at my own ugly, sinful tendency to do the very same thing.

in way, way too many areas of life, i play this game.

maybe not all the time, and sometimes more than others, but still i end up playing this losing game.

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i play it within my mind when i wish circumstances would be otherwise and i assume that it’s just me who deals with whatever the matter may be…

i play it when i wish my kids would be better, be more, be less…

i play it when i wish i was a better wife, a better mom, a better friend…

i play it when i wish i could look better, have a different outfit, less grey hairs…

i play it when i think about blogging and why do i bother…

i play it when i think someone else thinks something of me and mine and the truth of the matter is, it’s all just between my ears since i’ve not had any validation to the crazy thought process where i compare their thoughts toward me and what i think of them…

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i’m serious.

it is just a lose-lose game.

so,  this game can be just played alone and maybe noone is affected by it besides myself.

maybe that’s true.

even so, i am losing as i play it alone.

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it’s this thing of thinking that i can play this game and it’s okay when really, i’m playing it out and therefore letting it affect way, way more of life lived with others.

it’s this thing of playing it out in my mind and in the letting it affect other areas of life, i become a loser by choice.

i could be wrong, but it seems to me that the devil likes to see me play this game and lose over and over.

it’s this game that i don’t even have to turn in chips or pay dues, i’m just robbed blind by choice.

by choosing to play this game, i let myself, my life, my happiness be affected and ROBBED of so much peace and joy and acceptance and love.

i think about how as a parent, i want to teach my kids to be good losers, to play fair, to let others win.

but, in this game…i just want to teach them to not even play!

i want them to know that it’s a game that is not worth playing and, yet….

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it seems like because we live in a fallen world, from the beginning of time really, we’ve all been playing it.

and, losing.

i think that yes, this is where grace comes in.

but, i also think that this is where we have to choose to let redeeming love and God’s thoughts of us override the desire and tendency to play along in this losing game.

so much of life and how i respond to it is directly affected by where, who, what i put my identity in.

coming back again and again to the reality that my truest, only meaningful identity must come from what He thinks of me.

“My salvation and my honor depend on God; his is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times…pour out your hearts to him for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:7,8

“everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made….Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:7 & 1

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i don’t know why i’m posting this, really.

certainly not because i’ve overcome the game of comparison.

nope, maybe i’m posting this just to get it off my chest.

and, sometimes when i type things out, i see it clearer.

maybe you’ll identify with some of this, and maybe you won’t.

either way.

my only advice is this:

try not to to play this game.

losing all the time isn’t worth it.

choose joy, not comparison when you want to win.

Look with fresh eyes.
Look without comparison.
Look for a sprinkling of beauty on a tough situation.
Look for a joy that doesn’t match your circumstance.
Look for the unexpected blessings.
Expect them.
God adores you, even when His voice is quiet.

(^^pinterest quote)

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have a good Wednesday.

love,

Rachel

 

friend visit….

when one of your dearest friends calls on a Monday and wants to know if you are available to pick her up at the airport the following week, and you are left speechless and yet so very, very excited…

yep.

this past week was packed with good times and fun experiences shared.

i’m still just sitting back in awe that she was here and left already.

not to mention missing her.

but, while she was here, we did our best to show her a good time.

her and i are both lovers of flowers and so, a trip to Botanica, the Wichita Gardens was a perfect fit, not just for women, but for families too.

the garden has a very large section that is designed with children in mind and it was perfect for our crew.

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some of the features in the children’s garden….

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they had a rainbow theme throughout the children’s garden…

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Eric Carle’s ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’…

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a wonderful treehouse…

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lawn games…

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a butterfly sanctuary…

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tranquil water gardens…

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