Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Tribe Life Tuesday: In Full View

A weekly post from my childhood to grown-up friend Carrie ~ 
sharing her awesome life and her desire to have community while doing it!

Happy TribeLife Tuesday!

All month long we have been talking about how to Live Fully and Be Present. If you haven’t had a chance to read the previous blogs from January, do go back and check them out. As this month is coming to a close, I would love to hear from you! What does living fully and being present look and feel like to you? Let’s discuss in the comments below! 

The strangest thing has happened to me this month as I’ve been digging deep and exploring my own heart and mind. I have struggled with contentment for years, always working at being content but never quite grasping that thing I so longed for. But, as I wrote about this internal battle I face, I’ve found myself being more content than I ever have before. As I wrote about my discontentment and my desire to just be present and sit in contentedness every day, things began to change. I am sure there is some scientific or spiritual implication to that but that research will have to wait for another day. What I can gather is that there is something about getting your thoughts out of your brain and onto a sheet of paper -- it sobers you up. I think the reality is that some of the things I was discontent about are so irrelevant in the grand scheme of things that they aren’t worth my focus. At least that’s the revelation I came to. 

So I invite you to focus in on being present this week. Getting nose to nose with those things in your life that cause you to get unhinged. Let’s focus in on you, your health, your world. What are the things that are distracting you? Take a moment and write them down. You may be asking “things that distract me from what?” And to answer - things that distract you from fully engaging in the world around you.  

I have personally challenged myself to not view the world from behind a screen. Be it a television, a camera, a phone, I want nothing in front of my face except what is actually there. Being a total lover of social media, I see the massive benefits of it: it makes our very big world reachable and that is amazing. I also see the pitfalls of such an incredible tool, the distraction it can become and the scrolling vortex you can get sucked into. So I have made myself accountable to me in this area and am continually reminding myself to not view the world from behind this lens. What is really in front of you? I’m always asking myself where is it that we should explore? 

And that’s just it -- GO EXPLORE. It is literally the best way TO BE PRESENT. 

How will you be present this week? How will you explore your world without hiding behind a screen or a lens? 

We are so grateful to journey with you and look forward seeing you next week. 


Wee-wind Wednesday: Hannah Chatter

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Jb's birthday

We were actually able to celebrate JB's birthday on its actual day. He's 42! I wasn't sure what to do for his birthday so I put a request for ideas up on Facebook (and blocked JB). I ended up making him a book from Walgreens/Snapfish about the farm, giving him a "wine of the month" thingy, and getting him a book my friend Rana suggested. Thanks for all the good ideas. The pic above is a quick snap of our celebration evening!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Final Ballet Hurrah!

Well, the ballet is done.

I honestly cannot say enough good things about this experience for our family. To get to be a part of such an amazing production in a town so small and to have it be a ballet that focuses on a bigger message (every ballet has some story of forgiveness and redemption or grace factored in) was so amazing for us.

Sidge had the opportunity to work backstage, and I was so proud of him. He did so well, and they said he has a job every year. He was by far the youngest to help, but he took his job so seriously!

Here are some final going away photos to share!

Jenn the make-up genius!!

Bailee (Abigail's costume "twin"). And check out the kiss mark on Abigail's forehead. That was from the lead in the play, Hannah Johnson! She didn't want to take it off!

Little Hazel with me!

Kristin and my ballet family together: me, Eliza, Abigail, Hazel, Kristin

I love this photo of the Sylphs waking up Lori Ann!

Two of my buddies: Kristin and Jenn!

Sidge with his backstage curtain call!

With one of the leads, Hannah (who also teaches Abigail gymnastics and is in our homeschool co-op)

 With our friend Hailey and Hazel

John's makeup talents!

Ballet is done!

The Ballet is done ... behind on so many things but such a wonderful experience! I'll update soon.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Review: Finding Gobi: The True Story of One of Little Dog's Big Journey

We had received the kids' book Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart and loved it. So I was excited when the opportunity came up to review the junior novel: Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog's Big Journey by Dion Leonard. And we were not disappointed.

This book is based on the true story of friendship between a man running an ultramarathon and the little dog that kept him company and then became his companion after the race! They stay together and cross the finish line after 80 miles, bu then, when Dion is going to take Gobi home to Scotland, he disappears, and they have to try to find him somewhere in China!

This particular book seems to be a good fit for kids who are about 8 years old and up to read by themselves. Or it could be a book that a parent could read to their younger child. It's wonderful to have an opportunity just to read a happy and positive story. I'm always looking for good junior novels, and this is definitely one of them.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review from

Friday, January 26, 2018

First performance!

The first performance of The 12 Dancing Princesses is in the record books, and you can see how hard I worked from the picture below:

 Here are some other fun pictures from the show: 

 Abigail with the amazing Jenn who did her make-up! Jenn has been such a huge asset to the show. I'm afraid she may be doing make-up every year now!!!

Sidge has worked so hard behind stage. He's by far the youngest kid, but he's been so diligent and tried so hard!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

How a city girl, gone country grieves (and raises cows): Me, Et Cetera

 How a city girl, gone country grieves 
(and raises cows)

 I met Kimberly through farming. She, like me, has been dropped into this life and is learning to love it just like me. She is a Christian, however, our pasts are nothing alike. I've asked her to share her story on my Blog over the next weeks or months or however long it takes. It is filled with much grief and loss but will hopefully make you laugh and smile and grow and grieve along with her. 
You don’t know from Eve. Chances are, though, you might relate to some of my history. You might be familiar with some of my experiences. You might even feel relieved or reviled, yet intrigued. My experiences are broad spectrum, like a Roomba path that’s been interrupted. 
 A lot.
I’m native to Ohio and have a pretty diverse work history. I started out in food service like most teens in middle-class neighborhoods. I then graduated to young motherhood and marriage, which landed me a job at my father’s engineering office as a secretary. This was the age that computers were just being introduced, so I was sent to school to learn DOS (who remembers that??) and helped develop the office system of writing/recording the construction specs and various letters of inspection for dad and his colleagues. I worked for my father (and mother, who was the Senior Secretary) so I could bring my nursing baby with me most of the time. I even (kinda, sorta but not really) trained my mother, who is 40 years older than me, on the computer. She spent more time cursing at it than using it until she gave up the office work to stay home and take care of my children that kept coming along. I’m quite certain my family calendar (if we’d had one) would have looked a lot like birthdays, anniversaries, who’s Kimberly pregnant with this time, etc. So much more to be told, but we’ll cover that later.
After 11 years in the office management industry, a divorce and re-marriage, I took a leap into retail jewelry. I’m not sure why, except it was a change from the day to day office drivel. From there it became almost a game of "whose job is it anyway" as I expanded my skills to include candle-making, pharmaceutical delivery, acquiring my CDL and becoming a ‘mother trucker’ with cross-country deliveries, owning/operating my own truck and logistics, then dump truck driver to another divorce and remarriage, which landed me as a "stay at home" mom. My (current & final) husband wanted me home safe with the children, who are at this point in my history now 19, 17, 15, 13 & 6. There’s a lot more to THAT story and we’ll cover that later.
After a few years, and with only my youngest two boys, we moved to East TN in November of 2010. Why? Because I fell in love with it during my trucker travels and because there was no way I was moving back to PA with my husband, where he’s from. "East TN has more temperate weather and very little snow in the winter," I proclaim, announcing my sales pitch to my husband and boys. 
That proved to be a lie; we had snow flurries the first weekend we lived here. And then we had a whole inch of snow, which shut down the schools for four weeks, and then BAM, it’s Christmas break, so it was literally seven weeks of the boys and I in a two bedroom trailer house, my husband on the road, and cabin fever like The Shining
We had moved from a suburban neighborhood in the flatlands of southwest Ohio to 50 acres of mountain and woods with driveway 45 degrees going up and 90 degrees going down in the red dirt, which turns to butter when it’s wet. Needless to say, my CDL training had not prepared me for this, and it’s a miracle any of our vehicles did not end up in a ditch and still had tread on the tires and even partially working brakes. 
After six months on the mountain (which sounds far more romantic than in the tin box on the top of Mt. Vesuvius), we relocated to the little town of Washburn, TN, where we’ll always be "dang Yankees" and at least the driveway is paved. Oh so much more to this story, including our very first experience with "southern hospitality" gone awry, but we’ll cover that later.
We bought a house on a hill with a wrap-around porch. That story in itself is worthy of its’ own space, but the recap is that for two and a half years after we moved here, I felt like I was on perpetual vacation. My husband finally found steady work that paid half decent, allowing me to stay home again (after one last blast being a dump truck driver) with Mother and the boys. We are blessed with an incredible view and breathtaking sunrises. Some days Mother and I would enjoy coffee on our porch, absorbing the scenery, wondering how we EVER lived in the ‘burbs. We have 5 acres up here, and we can see other neighbors, streets and buildings, but we’re relatively undisturbed. The neighbor made hay with our fields because there wasn’t anything (yet) we had that would eat hay, and we moseyed along in life just enjoying and boating and camping and entertaining family. I even got to "work from home" for a short while, serving a ministry that works in an "off the tourist route" community in Jamaica. I enjoyed working with my childhood friend, brushing up my computer skills and logistics experience and being part of God’s movement. Literally, one day that all changed; an idea that became a proposition that became a commitment that became a new adventure occurred. And that story too will be covered later.
There are many, many holes in this history. I plan to feed you all the particulars in smaller segments; little bite-sized tidbits that leave your curiosity palate salivating for the next bite. 
Maybe some of you can relate to the imbalance of myriad, diverse experiences, of which I have only scratched the surface. I know to others of you, this madness is NOTHING compared to your battlefield. It’s not a contest and I’ve grown totally okay in my realm of dysfunction. I cashed my reality check and came up short, yet I’m saved, sanctified and sealed by the Blood, so I’m redeemed.
The whole purpose of me sharing is that God didn’t allow all this in my life for just me. He wants to use me to channel to you; that you’re not alone, that whatever comparative craziness you may be experiencing is temporary, that all of this makes up a much bigger picture of humans being broken and the beauty of how He makes all things new. I look forward to the next segment. 
There’s simply so much to share, not enough words, and really not enough coffee. 
We’ll just cover that later. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Tribe Life Tuesday: The Miracle Moment

A weekly post from my childhood to grown-up friend Carrie ~ 
sharing her awesome life and her desire to have community while doing it!

Happy TribeLife Tuesday!

I am sitting on a friends couch, feet propped up looking out her floor to ceiling windows and wondering when will I fully envelope myself in the blanket of being present. I ask myself, "Will this always be a struggle for me? What will it take for me to get there?" All these questions swirl as I look out these big beautiful windows. There is not a single cloud in the sky, the wind is whipping the leafless trees incessantly, and the air is crisp with a twinge of bitter cold. It is a beautiful day to stop and breathe deep. Yet still, I find mind charging into the future with no regard for the present. 

I recently came across a quote that I really enjoy and I am working on implementing into my everyday. It says, “When you are here and now, sitting totally, not jumping ahead, the miracle has happened. To be in the moment is the miracle.” ~ Osho

Admittedly, it can be difficult for me to take a moment in everyday and just fully be in it. And when I say “be in it” I mean, stopping and experiencing what it feels like, smells like, and looks like. What do I love about that moment? What do I hate about it? 

For most of us adults, this can be a hard concept to implement, staying in the present. Honestly, I think it is unrealistic to be present all day, everyday. With the demands of being a spouse, a parent, an employee, there is only so much of you. But taking a moment out of each day to be present is a gift you need to give yourself. My gift is 5 minutes. I put my phone on airplane mode or in the other room, sometimes I grab my journal sometimes I don’t, no music, no distraction, I stop everything, force my mind to stop and I sit. I embrace those aforementioned questions and allow the miracle of the moment to happen.

What this has done for me is, it has little by little made me aware of parts of me that I had buried out of self-preservation. I did this thinking it would help me thrive but it only contributed to this posture of survival. This miracle of the moment practice has helped me to live vulnerable and honest and embrace my beautifully broken life. Without this 5 minute gift each day I am certain the dust on my life compass would have caked on even thicker making it that much harder to find due north. I desire to live fully and be present. To thrive and experience contentment. 

So today, I want to spur you on to be present. Take time each day to sit in your miracle moment. 

Thank you for reading.

See you next Tuesday. 


Monday, January 22, 2018

We Bought a Farm: Feeling the Pressure

I'm already a homeschooling mom and a farmer's wife. That alone, I've decided is enough for me.

Add to it the ballet, house renovations, and a husband with a bad back, and that's my tipping point.

I know it's good to be positive. I know it's good to not get negative. I know it's good to keep things in perspective.

And I didn't do any of that.

John told me that I am looking around and seeing fires when in fact there are simply some little sparks here and there. I know that's true. I hear what he's saying. And yet I still sometimes just can't see straight because I get so overwhelmed.

Today I reached out to a few friends to ask them to pray for me. I shared what was burdening me. The list included:

  • JB was going on a mother run of shifts, and we needed to get all three of our main animal groups moved this morning.
  • JB's back is bothering him meaning I have to take more of a load on these moves. 
  • The kids have schoolwork to get done for the day. 
  • Our housekeeper was coming that morning which meant I had to get some things prepared for her arrival. 
  • I had a clean clothes pile in the hallway of my bedroom that was still waiting to find a home. 
  • We are hoping to get started on our home within the next few weeks, and I have to get our entire upstairs emptied. 
  • When they start working on the house, they will start upstairs. This means that until it is done, we will live all six of us in our master bedroom. 
  • I have no idea where to put everything! I mean I am already putting things in the garage and the camper and the woofer area. But we have a lot of things we need every day to live! How do you fit six people's clothes in a closet designed for two people?
  • Abigail had a regular ballet practice today at 3:45pm
  • It was my job to cook dinner. 
  • My in-laws weren't around for the day.
  • The boys' bedroom was an absolute disaster.
  • I'm taking piano lessons and hadn't practiced at all this week.
  • We have two more full day ballet rehearsals and then four shows in the next six days!!!
Okay so that's just a quick overview of what was flying through my mind this morning. I kept trying to talk myself down off the cliff. It wasn't as bad as I thought, was it? But I just couldn't wrap my head around it. My poor husband was watching me lose my mom-mind, and trying to encourage me, but I wasn't very encourage-able.

That's when I asked my friends to pray. And somehow, the day actually went better than I hoped. We got our ewes, rams, and pigs moved in about 2.5 hours. I was back at the house by noon. We scrapped any school work for the day. I skipped ballet practice. We had leftovers for dinner. And I gave the laundry to two kids as a punishment. I just forgot about the boys' room for the day. Ha! When my in-laws got back late that afternoon, I willingly let them take all the kids for an hour so I could just regroup.

I truly believe that when I reach out for prayer, even when I am not really praying myself, I am held up. 

If you are feeling overwhelmed, remember ... REACH OUT! Ask for prayer. Ask for help. Don't be alone. Don't feel alone. We are not alone!