Saturday, January 2, 2016

HAPPY New Year!!!!!

Happy New Year.

It is.

I am happy.

In the midst of what should be the darkest, it isn't the darkest, because there is a lot going on and a lot I have learned and I also am not alone.

And I am thankful.

I have peace.  Real peace.  It has been hard fought.  And some days are much better than others.  But I know WHO I trust in and WHO I thank.  God is good.  On good days, God is good.  On bad days, God is good.  In the night, God is good.  In the day, God is good.  In the storm, God is good.  In the sunshine, God is good.

I could list all the losses and all the pain.  Today I am estranged from most (NOT ALL) of my family.  I am literally sitting in jail.  I don't know what the future will hold (and I am someone who always wants a plan).  I don't know if we will be able to save our home.

God is there.  He has given me the greatest treasure in my husband, a treasure I may not deserve, but I will spend the rest of my life working to be sure he knows that I am very blessed to be walking through life with him.  I have peace in my heart, for the first time in a long time.  I have a lot to learn in walking that road, but I am also letting go of what does not bring me peace.  I am learning to walk in that peace.  I know that God loves me, that He has forgiven me, I know that His grace and mercy is new every day.  I know that in each day, in each circumstance, there is something to be grateful.  I can honestly say - I am learning this and at times learning it the hard way, but seeing it better and better each day.  I know that I will never be perfect and it is time to stop striving for that, holding myself to a standard that cannot be accomplished.  God created me, He knows the flaws I carry, and HE can USE those flaws.  I never understood that.  I know He knows that He and I are always working on me, but even so, HE is able to use those flaws for His good.  I have learned to trust in that.  That alone is a scary thing.  I know that He does have plans for us, and if we will allow Him, He will work with us.  I will forever be the clay, under construction, flawed.  But, I am still breathing, which means I still have life and purpose.  I don't know what the future holds, but I know Who does.  I will rest in that, and remember to enjoy every second He gives me in every circumstance He gives me.  I hope to shine His light in my very imperfect life, to reflect glimmers of Him in my brokenness.  It is all a mystery to me, but it is a Holy Mystery - this life.  I am saved, I am a daughter of the High King.  And each person I meet and interact with is also a Child of the King, whether they know it or not.  They are precious children of the King of Heaven, and we must treat all as such.  We live among princes and princesses of the King, no matter in what guise.

I am thankful for the New Year.  For so much.  For friends, for family, for my greatest love, for productive work, for a warm bed, for days to come.  God is good.  All the time.  No matter where we lay our head tonight.  God's blessings!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, November 29, 2015

God's hand in darkness...

Hope in Front of Me

Even in the midst, even when I don't believe, You are there and holding me.  In the storm, You are there.  When I feel all is lost, when I am so bereft, so angry, so hopeless, You are still holding me and secure on Your throne.

Broken Hallelujah
Much of the time, I wonder if I have anything left of value for my King, for His Kingdom, any gifts to give.  But even in my desperate brokeness, He loves me.  As Job said, "I will not curse God".  I won't.  I will praise Him, even in my fear and pain, and try to hold onto that He will use even this disaster for HIS GLORY.  I will admit to holding on my threads at times, to not even being sure that I am still holding on, but praying for Him to hold me when I cannot.

With Every Act of Love
Could I ask for prayers for a woman I have met, who is struggling to find a way in her life, a faith and hope in her broken life, freedom from addiction and fear and depression.  Soon she will be out of the confining spaces that give her the boundaries to work through her demons, and will need to do it on her own.  She has a new faith, and is trying so hard.  Pray for a strong faith support, a church family, and accepting people to help her walk this long road of recovery.  We are reading the Bible each day, encouraging each other to keep at it, discussing bits and pieces.  In so many ways, I am so inadequate to speak God's word into her heart, she has faced things that make me feel like a complete naive woman.  So much I know nothing about (and really don't want to, thank the Lord), how do I speak hope to that pain?  Please pray for her. 

Wait for a Miracle

Danny Gokey's testimony
I listened to this and just sobbed.  He spoke so clearly and completely about coming through his darkness, and I can so relate.  I have spent a great deal of time with grief, with railing at God, with wanting to simply die to escape the pain.  To hear it in someone else's voice and words spoke balm and healing.  I agree with letting go, letting go of the toxicity and the need to understand.  He speaks very well on this, and better than I could.  It is hard, oh so hard.  Especially for someone, like him and I, who have grown up in the faith, who have attempted in our very imperfect ways to follow the Lord, with errors and sins, but striving, to let go of what we cannot yet see.  We may never see it this side of  heaven, but I so hope that God can somehow use me for His good at some point.  This is darkness I walk through.  I have come through so far, even when I didn't want to.  God always had someone there to keep me going.  And at times, maybe it was simply the warm fuzzy body of my dog.  But that was also God holding me.  I can clearly say, that I am not out of my valley, and some days despair threatens to overwhelm.  But if all I have is to give God every breath and what little I have to others, then that is what I must do.  Long ago, when I agreed to follow God, and with each challenge turned it over to Him, accepting what sacrifice might be needed to fulfill His will, THIS, in my life, was never even a breath of a thought that crossed my mind.  I promised to go where He sent me.  THIS is most certainly NOT where I wanted to go, or what I thought it might be.  But, I have to trust that somehow this is His Hand, still in control to use all our failings and pain.  I recall Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane asking that if "this cup to pass from me", but with the next breath accepting it if it was God's will.  If even Jesus asked that this hardship be taken from Him, then most certainly we can also.  But in the next breath, to accept God's will.  That is truly the hard part, and we are human and very very fallible.

It is Well With My Soul
This hymn was written after traumatic events in Horatio G. Spafford's life. The first was the 1871 Great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer and had invested significantly in property in the area of Chicago which was decimated by the great fire). His business interests were further hit by the economic downturn of 1873 at which time he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre. In a late change of plan, he sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sea vessel, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford's daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, "Saved alone . . .". Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write the words to the now famous hymn as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.

Desert Song
This was a song that I was introduced to following our Sammy's death, in the midst of my profound grief and despair, the voices and musical skills of several of my beloveds presented it at a church service.  Out of the fog of that time, that song spoke to me so heavily and became my anthem at that time.  In my pain and confusion, it was a strength, and to have heard it for the first time from those loved ones spoke so profoundly, God truly used them as a balm to my hurting heart.  I find it is also quite appropriate now.  I wish I could keep all this music going around me 24/7 as it is so healing and strengthening, but I am finding that it persists in my mind and heart and I can more easily turn to it for comfort and connection even when I cannot hear it audibly.  Ah, I so wish I had a voice worthy of singing it!!  LOL.  I only do that when I am alone.  Kindness to others and all, ya know?

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, November 27, 2015


You are God Alone 
Always.  Hold on.  Nothing is changed in Him, no matter what we face.  Grip tight to His promises and sink into His word.

Revelation Song

Jesus Calling - hang onto this message.  Jesus is always here.  Through the storms, the trials, the nightmares.  Jesus is always calling, always with us, perhaps simply holding us and weeping with us as we walk this road.  Hold on.

Here with Me Oh, how frank these songwriters are.  Did they look into my world the last few years?

And one of my favorite uplifting fight songs!  A good reminder for us all - not to mention that this version has one of the most amazing riders around, and if you know me well, you know of my deep love for horses. Live Like You Were Dying

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Stone Silo Enterprises

 Okay, so we are trying to put all our endeavors in one place as we work to build multiple streams of income.  We want to use what we have and be good stewards of what we have, as well as to become completely debt free.  So, we have several things we are working on, and needed a place to put it together.  You probably have seen our diabetes log books, and I also recycle feed bags into really useful and strong tote bags, as well as we are working on several Amharic/English items!  So, we decided to do a facebook page for it, so it was easy for us to add things to!

Here ya go!
Stone Silo Enterprises

Check it out!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, November 26, 2012

As we all prepare for the holidays to continue...

I just wanted to quickly share with you a resource I found that I am really enjoying.

At this point in time, in this economy, with so much going on, we are all stretching every dollar as far as possible.  Well, there are actually some really good resources to help you.  I wanted to share one with you.

There are so many ideas and options on this site, that you really need to go explore on your own to find what you are most needing.  We have way modified our cleaning products, making our own laundry soap, and baby wipes and it seems like more and more each day.  That has made a huge dent in out budget, thankfully.  And it has inspired me to keep looking for more ways to be good stewards of what God has blessed us with.  Please feel free to share any ideas and resources you might have, as well as check out this one.  I have to admit, I put lots of things on my facebook page, most often so I have a way to find it again when I have time.

Well, on that note, and from the toddler excitement in the next room, I had better make this a hasty post.  Everyone is well, everyone is full from Thanksgiving and I even had my 25th class reunion which really was fun!  We are in full swing preparing for Christmas and I actually, for once, have a good chunk of my Christmas shopping done!  Not complete, but a good dent.  I am not a fan of shopping and dislike the stores, so tend to avoid it as much as possible.  Plus it is just a little complicated in our life right now.  Our van is still in the shop,  and with various kids in tow, it gets challenging!

God is good, life is good, we have only had less than half an inch of snow so far, and last week we even had a couple days in the 50's, so for Wisconsin, we have nothing to complain about!  LOL!

Enjoy life, live every minute and rest when you can!  Best wishes and hugs to all!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

I thought I would leave my tagline as my intro today.

Life has been a whirlwind, and for oh, so many reasons.

Let's see, there are ten kids and two adults, four dogs, eleven horses, uncounted cats, twelve rabbits, sixteen ducks and uncounted chickens in our household.  Okay, so really, the horses, most cats, rabbits (except one), ducks and chickens all live outside.  But still.

Oh, yeah, and now, as of today, eight of our ten kids are teenagers, and the other two are toddlers!  Sometimes way too similar to imagine.  A toddler tantrum can look very much like a teen tantrum (though in all honesty and to my kids' credit, we have very few teen tantrums.  Now, toddler tantrums on the other hand....).  And our teens are transitioning all over the place.  At the moment, as of this second, three have paying jobs, one just literally, literally moved home from an internship (this mama heart is dancing for joy by the way!), and the four thirteen year olds - yes, I did say FOUR thirteen year olds - are keeping busy with basketball, Latin, babysitting, church plays, choir and whatever else comes up.  Yep, eight teenagers all at once.  Some days, the hormones and drama just rage.

I am getting good practice at letting the steam roll off of them and them calming down and realizing that the world will honestly not end because "so and so" is "mad" at you this second.  Because most of the drama blows over within the hour, though some can last longer.

And the toddlers are settling in quite well as typical toddlers, who are currently stretching our brain cells by repeating EVERYTHING we all say!  In fact, the story one of the bigger kids confessed to, was an accidental swearing (somewhat justified given what had happened that second), which was promptly imitated by a two year old, of course at the top of her lungs, at which point the elder realized their mistake and desperately tried to undo it - of course before Mom happened to hear her littlest one chanting a four letter word in glee!  Have to admit, the story literally had me rolling!

Ah, yes, and teens come up with the most interesting things - the toddlers were chasing several teens around the other night, pretending to be "zombies" - not quite what I had planned for this age.  On the other hand, to hear all the siblings laughing and squealing in glee and fun made it hard to be perturbed about.  There are some things you just have to let go of, I guess.  I think I see where all the changes come from - with your first, you are so protective, maybe too protective, and by the time you have several more, you realize that most of what you feared won't actually hurt them anyway, and isn't scarring anyway.  Some kids pretend to be bears, my littles pretend to be zombies. Not that they know what zombies are.  Oh, except a thirteen year old (who shall remain nameless) did tell them they were supposed to pretend to eat people.  Yeah, that wasn't planned on either.  I guess bears/zombies all eat people, right?  LOL!

Food Network 16-In. Electric Skillet (Google Affiliate Ad)

We have also decided that cooking in bulk and assembly line works quite well.  And teenagers are quite often quite willing to jump in and help if there is food involved.  Lately my kiddos have been cooking just about as much as I have, if not more.  Some days chasing the toddlers is more something that I have to do, and the big kids jump right in - for which I am very grateful - and they are very good!  (My poor husband had to put up with all my learning to cook when we first married.  He lost 20 pounds in the first six months.)  We have discovered that a large skilled works great for pancakes, french toast, injera, grilled cheese and on and on.  It has become a staple at our house!

The other day three of the kids got a hankering for tortillas. However, Mom was not headed to the store, and the cost is just too much anyway (a package disappears in the blink of an eye).  So, they looked up and found a recipe they liked and went to town.  I have to totally admit with pride that the tortillas were FABULOUS!!!!!

Jpc Equestrian Himalayan Horse Rock Salt Lick 2.2 Pound - 3304 (Google Affiliate Ad)

AND, to announce, my horsie kiddo moved home on Saturday!  We are still letting the dust settle somewhat, but it is so good to have her home!  She grew a lot, learned an immeasurable amount, and came back a much more mature young lady.  I am so glad to have her home.  It was quite the experience, but being away, and not being able to be home for visits was just too much for someone so young.  I am so proud of her for sticking it out for three months, and really making sure that this was what she wanted.  I cannot even begin to tell you all that she learned, but it is so nice to have her knowledge as we build our place here.  I missed my girl!  We are redesigning our nutritional program for our horses, and getting quite hands on with all of them.  I cannot tell you what her experience level is now!  Who would have thought anyone could learn so much in three months?  But, our family is all now under one roof again, and I am happy.  Plus, we found so many opportunities for her here in our area, so who knows where life will take her!

Well, I got my quiet moments to finally write - toddlers are now asleep.  I sit on the floor in their room while they fall asleep, and my laptop is my dearest friend then.  They love that I am present and with them, and I try to catch up on things!  I love to hear their gentle breathing, and yes, I can tell when they are finally really asleep, just by their breathing!  They are energy in motion in general and it is just phenomenal to see their personalities develop and see all their growth!  I am so blessed and I know it.  Maybe not in ways the world sees as blessings, but by what really counts.

Have a lovely Thanksgiving, I hope you enjoy the blessings of family and friends, or simple comforts as we reflect on what is truly important.  Love to you all!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Relaxation breathing through the election....

Whew.  I don't know about you, but we are ready to vote tomorrow and get this election over with!  Between all the robo calls - I have now talked to Pat Boone, Clint Eastwood and some other celebrity whose name escapes me at the moment, as well as all the regular people voices - the mailers, the radio ads, the TV ads, and all the discussion and hype, I am so ready for this to get over with.  The kids keep asking when the commercials will stop - tomorrow morning?  Nope, tomorrow will be worse.  But soon, we hope.

I know that this is all really important, and I know that many of us have quite strong opinions on which candidates we want to see come into office, and I know it has far reaching implications.  But, I also hope that we will all keep clear heads and know that God continues to be in control, no matter the outcome.  Ultimately, that is the platform I am most concerned with - God's.  He can use anything for his purposes.  Even candidates we don't want to see in office.  Whatever, whoever.

This year Alex will vote for the first time, the first of our kids to be of age to do so.  I am pretty sure I know how he is voting, but only because of what he has said to me.  Do I know who I want him to vote for?  Certainly.  Should I be telling him who to vote for?  NO.  Will I share with him my thoughts and reasons and research?  Absolutely.  But it is between him and God who he votes for.

And maybe that is really the attitude we need to all have as we walk into this.  We have all had our chances to talk about what we want people to hear, to try to persuade, to make our thoughts and beliefs known.  Tomorrow, let's just vote.  Peacefully, with gentle spirits in our hearts, but each do our part and vote.  Make our own preferences known, perform our civic duty, and our responsibilities of citizenship.  Just vote.  The hubbub of the campaign ultimately comes down to tomorrow and how each of us vote.  Not anymore who we try to influence, other than to encourage people to get out and make their wishes known.  Support our candidates and respect the offices we are voting for.

But in the end, let's all go to bed with gentle hearts, with the knowledge that our peaceful democratic process has yet again run its course.  Not all of us will be happy with the results.  But will anger, wailing and gnashing of teeth change anything - no.  If something needs to be changed, then let's work through the correct channels to do so, but otherwise, we need to rest in the vote.

And no, I don't think it is a perfect system, and I may be very unhappy with some results tomorrow - or very happy.  I don't know.  But in the end, I will tuck my kids into bed, start another load of laundry, pay some bills, maybe sip some tea or a glass of wine, and grab a book to snuggle down with as the results continue to come in.  In reality, in my day to day reality, many things won't change drastically no matter the outcome.  I wish they would.  I think over time things do.  But honestly, Wednesday morning I will still get up, get some breakfast going, herd toddlers and teens, feed my horses and other animals, and continue our life.  There are many things that we hope this election will improve, but it won't happen on Wednesday - though I would love it if the price of gas dropped through the floor!!  But really, change is a slow process, and we all have to just keep living.

I don't want to sound like I don't care, because I do, wildly.  I lean very hard in one direction.  But the sun will not change its direction based on the election, and God won't be surprised no matter what.  Remember, we are all citizens, in ONE nation, under God, indivisible.  We have the choice to keep it that way.

God bless and vote your heart.  But VOTE!!!!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11