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Friday, January 25, 2013

Blog Posts I Really Liked This Week

Before I share with you my favorite blog posts from this week, I wanted to share with you some of the pictures I've been taking in my photography class. Just remember, I'm a beginner!!!!!

We've been learning how to do blurred backgrounds.

blogs i enjoyed this week
Your Care Guide: 25 Point Manifesto for Sanity in 2013 - Holy Experience
5 Things You Need to Know Before You Begin Your 2nd Term of Life - Holy Experience
How We Use Essential Oils to Fight Colds and Flus - The Prairie Homestead
2012 Homestead Yields & Cost Analysis - On Just a Couple of Acres
Encouraging Maturity in Children - Smockity Frocks
We're Going Around the World Literally - Keeper of the Home
Do I Parent Out of Fear or Faith? - Inspired to Action
A No Waste Kitchen  - New Life on a Homestead
Love Your Neighbor. Even If You Don't Think They Deserve It - New Life on a Homestead

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sad Day on the Farm

My Pastor-Hubby & I had the privilege of attending a church leaders' conference in San Jose, CA yesterday. We listened to some fantastic speakers: Francis Chan, Jon Tyson, & Rick Warren. It was wonderfully encouraging and inspiring.

During the first session of the conference, I received a text from my children at home. Joshua's mommy rabbit was found dead and mutilated on the front driveway.

Somehow, her cage door had been left opened. The rabbit cages are suspended high above the ground, but she managed to jump down to the ground and got out during the night.

We had begun, this past week, weaning her babies out of her cage. We have three of her five babies sold already, so those were the first we moved out to a cage of their own. She had two babies left with her.

When the kids went to her cage yesterday morning, it was completely empty.

Stephanie, our babysitter, spotted one white baby on the ground hiding in a corner. They snatched that little girl up and put her in the new cage with her other brothers and sisters.

The tri-colored baby was never found. We suspect a coyote.

My text message read that there were many tears at home. Joshua, my oldest boy and owner of the rabbits, dug a hole and buried his momma rabbit. Stephanie led them in a small "funeral."

This is part of farm life.

On a lighter note, here's some other happenings on the farm these days.

Our three little pigs, Bacon, Ham, and Pork Chop, are not so little anymore. They're four months old, requiring 12 pounds of food a day.

Our hens are completely free-ranged all day long now. Our puppy is now trained to leave them alone, and she's doing fantastic. Unfortunately, this means we are finding some eggs on the lawn. Anybody know how to solve this?

This lone rooster is kept very busy all day - and he's developed a bit of an attitude.
My oldest boy, Josh, is teaching my fourth child, Noah, to drive the tractor.

My Pastor-Hubby likes to put in 30 minutes to an hour each day working on the farm. He works that in around his church schedule.
This is Hannah's Holland Lop doe who will be ready for breeding in spring.

Noah enjoys playing with these baby bunnies. These are the babies purchased for him, Luke, and Hannah. These are not Joshua's babies born in December.

Noah's baby rabbit

Luke's baby dwarf rabbit.

Our lab-mix puppy is so grown up. She's the best dog we ever had. She desires to please and obey. She is going through a little bit of the terrible-twos right now, at eight months old. She loves playing in the seasonal pond we have on the property (which is what she had done before I took these pictures of her.) Isn't she pretty? Any guesses on what she's mixed with?

Friday, January 11, 2013

What I'm Reading...

My Pastor-Husband bought me a book for Christmas, knowing that I'm in the midst of a personal transformation time - a season of transition.

The Me I Want to Be
DESCRIPTION: The bestselling author of When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box; God Is Closer Than You Think; and The Life You've Always Wanted--will help you discover spiritual vitality like never before as you learn to 'live in the flow of the spirit.' But if God has a perfect vision for your life, why does spiritual growth seem so difficult? John Ortberg has some intriguing answers to that question, and he has organized his thoughts and God's words into a straightforward and timely guide for living your best life in The Me I Want to Be.

This book will show how God's perfect vision for you starts with a powerful promise. All those who trust in God 'will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit' (Jeremiah 17:7-8). Ortberg urges you to recognize your brokenness, understand that God is the project manager, and follow His directions. The author first helps gauge your spiritual health and measure the gap between where you are now and where God intends you to be. Then he provides detailed tasks and exercises to help you live in the flow of the Spirit, circumventing real-world barriers---pain and sorrow, temptations, self-doubt, sin---to flourish even in a dark and broken world. As you start living in the flow, you will feel: --- a deeper connection with God --- a growing sense of joy --- an honest recognition of your brokenness --- less fear, more trust --- a growing sense of being 'rooted in love' --- a deeper sense of purpose God invites you to join Him in crafting an abundant and joy-filled life. The Me I Want to Be shows you how to graciously accept His invitation.
I'm not finished with the book yet but I'm thoroughly enjoying it. It has "hit the spot," so to speak. I remember the day I opened the first page. I was particularly discouraged that day, and praying that God would speak clearly to me about what I was walking through. I needed answers and direction, and most of all, to see clearly. I heard nothing. God wasn't responding to me. How frustrating.

A few hours later, I opened the cover and began chapter one. Immediately, I felt God's voice speaking clarity through the pages of the book. He did answer me, just not how or when I thought He would. Thank You, Jesus, that You always keep surprising us!

Perhaps you will find this book as encouraging as I am...

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Awakening Fast Menu & Shopping List

awakening fast 2013

If you don't already know about the nation-wide Awakening Fast, this is an excerpt from the email sent out yesterday to our women by our Women's Ministries Director, Cheryl McEachron (who is one of my dear friends and mentor):

Beginning Monday, January 7, churches around the nation are entering a 21-day fast called the Awakening Fast. Fasting is called for by God several times in the Bible when His people needed God's divine intervention or when someone was wanting to focus on crying out to God for a particular answer (Nehemiah, Esther). We need a REVIVING, an AWAKENING in our spirits so we recognize our desperate need for HIM! In the book of Daniel in the Old Testament we see Daniel a young Hebrew that has been taken captive with several of his friends by the Babylonian, King Nebuchadnezzar. This young man is offered, even ordered to eat the food from the King's table, which is against his Jewish dietary laws. He resolves himself to humbly request a very restricted diet - all fruits and vegetables, grains and only water to drink. Later Daniel fasts for 21 days by eating no meat, no sweets and no fermented drinks. We now call this way of eating for 10 days or 21 days, a Daniel Fast. For Daniel, he & his friends, they were tested and found to be better than any of the other young men, and at the end of the 21 days he has an angelic visitation and a powerful end time vision. What is it you desire from God?? What would you sacrifice to meet with God?? Fasting is more than changing or eliminating food for a period of time. It is a time to spend time with God and focus on what pleases Him. 

Types of Fasts: 
Full Fast: Fluids only, no food (water or juice)
Daniel Fast: Eat no meat, no sweets or breads, Drink water and juice. Eat fruits and vegetables. 
Partial Fast: From 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (or sun-up to sun-down) (select what type of fast; full, Daniel, or at least one food during that time), you could also choose to fast media or any other item God lays on your heart

Prepare to Fast:
If you are ceasing to use coffee and/or sugar, begin today to cut down on the amount you use each day so you will minimize the discomfort of the detoxification your body will go through if you stop all at once. Detox symptoms are headache and possible irritability. You may also feel more fatigue and need a little extra sleep or rest.   

Strengthen Your Heart:
Many of you have a devotional you read everyday, but if you would like fresh devotions delivered to your inbox morning and evening go to and check the box at the bottom of the screen. There are also encouraging messages by many wonderful leaders found on - on the upper righthand corner click on Quick Links and click on the 21-Day Video journal as of January 6. 
If you need a list of foods you can eat, recipes, and devotions all in one place try  

My husband and I will be doing the Daniel Fast starting Monday, and my 9yo son wants to join us. Our other older children are choosing their own methods of fasting.

I look forward to this fast every year. Not only is it a wonderful way to start the year, setting my mind on things above, but I enjoy the eating plan. In the past, we've lost around 11 pounds during this 21 day fast. We enjoy eating whole, real, God-made foods at home anyways, so this isn't much of a stretch for us. But we do eliminate meat and dairy, and all those delicious sweets (that I'm now so tired of after the holidays). Our focus for this fast is on God-made foods that come from plants, mainly fruits, vegetables, and grains.

Here's the menu I've created to keep us on track during this fast. I've used the same one for the past three years.

Flatbread with PB
Oatmeal with apples or berries, honey, & nuts
Banana covered in PB & rolled in granola
Potato & veggie burrito
Cream of wheat with raisins or mashed bananas & nuts
Whole grain cereal, puffed brown rice cereal, shredded mini wheats, or granola with almond milk, fruit
Whole grain waffles with pure maple syrup
Ezekiel bread topped with honey & cinnamon & broiled till toasted

Grilled veggie wraps
Chili on baked potato
Veggie patty with oven fries or roasted red potatoes
Soup & salad, Ezekiel bread toasted with olive oil & sea salt
Greek salad & W.W. pita
Black bean, corn, & tomato salad
Bean burrito & fruit
Spinach salad
Dinner leftovers

Red beans & rice
Mediterranean pasta with O.O. & garlic, salad
W.W. linguine with broccoli
Grilled veggie wraps or pitas
Vegetable soup with barley
Veggie stir fry with peanuts over whole grain rice
Beans & cornbread with honey or flatbread
Chunky minestrone
Vegetable saute over pasta or rice
Lentils with spinach & garlic, whole wheat crackers
Couscous with asparagus & orange
Chili (no meat)
Roasted veggie pita with hummus
Tortilla soup with Taco Salad (no meat)
Veggie Paninis on flat bread with grilled portabella mushrooms
Winter squash with pure maple syrup & nuts or stuffed with whole grain rice
Vegetarian spaghetti with tomato sauce & mushrooms, salad
Black bean tacos with lettuce, tomato, onion, salsa

Apples & PB
Fruit & nuts
Rice cakes with PB & raisins
Air popped popcorn (olive oil & salt)
Fruit kabobs
Whole grain crackers & PB
Flatbread chips with hummus
Sweet potato fries
Celery & PB
Corn tortilla chips & salsa or guacamole
The following is my grocery list for the fast. It may appear long, but many of these items, I already have on hand, so I don't have to buy everything here. But its my checklist to ensure I have all I need.

Minced garlic
Sea salt & pepper
Taco & chili seasoning
Vegetable broth
Corn, canned or frozen
Diced tomatoes, canned
Black beans, canned (put in blender & salt for refried beans)
Tomato sauce (no sugar)
Corn tortilla chips
Whole grain crackers (I like Ak-Mak)
Rice cakes
Natural peanut butter
Whole grain flatbread, tortillas, & pitas
Ezekiel bread
Frozen berries & fruit for smoothies
Veggie burger patties
Pure maple syrup
Several different kinds of raw nuts
Rolled oats
Cream of wheat
Whole grain cereal, puffed brown rice cereal, or Cheerios
Granola (or make your own)
Dry Beans (pinto, kidney, navy, any kind)
Whole grain pastas, variety
Whole grain rice (brown or wild)
Olive oil
Popcorn kernels

Fresh Produce
Squash, summer (yellow & green)
Squash, winter
Bell peppers
Mushrooms, small & portabella
Potatoes, sweet, russet, & red
Lettuce & salad toppings
Any other veggies you like
Any other fruit you like
Here's a printable version of this menu and list for your personal use.

If you plan to join us in this spiritual journey over the next several weeks, I hope you find these lists helpful. Planning is the first step, so I've done that for you. Now, you can focus on getting your heart set on God, seeking His will for this year, and asking for His intervention in our nation. If ever a year to depend on God, this is the year, with the way the nation and world are heading. Thank you, Jesus, that I have you to lean on and that you are in charge, not the government. We need God now more than ever!