Friday, May 31, 2019

We Bought a Farm: The Grass Isn't Greener

"Whoever always looks for greener grass on the other side will never be able to appreciate the green grass that was right under their feet the entire time."

The kids and I took a little jaunt over to North Carolina for two nights. My childhood friend, Michelle, lives there, and her oldest son was celebrating his birthday. She has an awesome husband named Hershal and three kiddos in total, and while we've had seasons (like when I was overseas) that we didn't see each other much, we have made it a point to see each other regularly ever since we came back to the USA in 2014. (I added a picture of our kiddos together to my PLEASANT post. You can see it by clicking here.)

Okay but this post really isn't about Michelle and her family as much as it is about how focused I get on greener grass.

I've always been this way. I always second guess my decision and take a good look at the decisions of others and think: Do they have it better?

Two nights before I went to go visit Michelle, JB and I got into discussion after the kids had gone to bed. 

Farming is hard. Are we doing all the right things? Could things be easier.

I told JB I wanted to live a SLOW life, and he shocked me by saying, "A SLOW life sounds boring."


I told him that I thought we had agreed upon a SLOW life, and he reminded that me what we've agreed about is an INTENTIONAL life. A PURPOSEFUL life. A RURAL life. 


Live with a man nearly 21 years (our marriage is almost old enough to drink, and you can still learn something new.)

Following that little discussion, I headed to visit Michelle.

While I do love our rural life, I appreciate getting a taste of urban conveniences. These include:
  • FOUR minutes to Publix. FOUR. I mean seriously. Why even plan dinner ahead of time? Just go to Publix everyday. 
  • Hobby Lobby. Michelle gave me an hour to myself while she watched all the kids, and I just walked around Hobby Lobby. I've been there a few times, but I've never been able to browse that much. Folks, this store is stinkin' amazing. You should never be bored in your whole life if you live near one of these.
  • A community pool. Like, more than a pool actually -- a water park. That was fun. Really fun! We went two days in a row.
  • Target less than ten minutes away. I took the girls there to buy the toothbrushes we forgot, and we left with everything but the toothbrushes we went there to buy. 
  • INDIAN FOOD!!!!!
But here is the thing. Their life is still busy. They get stuck in traffic. They have to drive long ways to get to places that are determined by how many other people are going the same way. They have neighbors making a lot of noise. Or not approving of what they are doing in their yard. You have to park certain ways on the street and keep your yard maintained and pay money to something called an HOA (insert sarcasm) to live there without issue.

I could go on and on with the thoughts swirling through my head. I get this way every time I go to suburbia . . . in fact I saw metal trees on this trip.


But Michelle and her family are doing the same things we are. They are raising their kiddos to love the Lord. They are homeschooling and doing activities and working jobs and living life.

Isn't that what we are all doing after all in whatever space we are choosing to do it?

They are still getting their kids out in nature. They are doing it with camping and the activities they choose. We are doing it with the farm we live on. 

We all want the same things for our kiddos.

And the grass is really the same color.


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

We Bought a Farm: I choose chickens

"You know you own chickens when you watch them play in the yard more than you watch TV."

I find my Blog morphing.

As my kids get older, I find that there "funnies" and "life" are a little bit more off limits. They will in fact even say to me, "Don't post that."

Although I will share one funny from today.

Abigail had two friends over. She wanted a piece of gum. I told her, "If you are going to have a piece of gum, you have to offer both of your friends one. It isn't nice to not share with guests. They'll feel bad."

My little dry-witted Isaac piped in, "Unless it's broccoli."

That made me laugh.

Hannah also said today, "In Karate, the boys make the letter E sign with their hands." Very true. The sign for E and the bent finger move you make in Karate does have a lot of similarities.

She also told me, "I either wake up when it is dark out or light out."

Another very true statement.

But I digress from what I started this Blog post to do. I wanted to show you what putting the animals to bed at night looks like.

You have to do this at the just right moment. If you show up too early, the chickens will have not gone in their house. You can go too late, but then you need light (and a guard dog because it can get a little spooky wondering what is out there with you in the pitch black.) 

Here's what it looks like to put the chickens to bed at dusk on the farm: 

And here is what it looks like to put the guineas to bed (in case you missed this post.)  

Many days I look at my friends in suburbia and think, what is their life like at dusk. It's different. But in the end, it's all about choices and what we decide to put our time into.

I choose chickens.


Monday, May 27, 2019

We Bought a Farm: A Picture is what I post

"A farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn't still be a farmer." Will Rodgers


A few pictures of our farm as JB left for work as the sun was coming up. 


This life we live is beautiful.

This land we are tending is beautiful.

The time we have together is beautiful. 

The animals remind me of God's beauty. 

The trees. The flowers. Smokey Mountains. Majesty.

But lest you believe everything looks like sunrises and sunsets and twinkly skies and fireflies at nigh here atTthe Bauernhof, I remind you that with beauty comes a lot of days that don't feel so beautiful.

There are a lot of weeds.

Animals die.

Crops fail.

Tools break.

Arguments come unleashed.

Children complain. 

Tonight there were probably more tears than there were smiles. Our farm is real. It's peace is real. The respite and refuge it provides to us and many other people is real. 

But life is real. We aren't everything you see in pictures. As we browse social media, remember that a picture is what a person posts.

But a life is what people live,


Review: Supercharged Science

I am doing a video review this week! I reviewed for the vendor: Supercharged Science. I was reviewing their E-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum. Vendor link: Supercharged Science Product links: E-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum Read more about them here:
Check out reviews from other Crew members here:
e-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum {Supercharged Science Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, May 26, 2019


If we believe that God plans our life, then we can't believe that there are accidents. He has it all planned out. 

When I look at my Isaac, I can't help but think: he wouldn't be here if someone didn't want to give him life. And he is NOT an accident. He's perfectly and wonderfully made. 

How many Isaac's don't exist today because someone thought their life wasn't worth living?

I'm looking at a masterpiece
I'm staring at a work of art
I'm listening to a symphony
In every beat of your tiny heart
You used to be a choice to make
But now I think you've chosen me
'Cause I see ten fingers, ten toes
Two eyes and I know this is meant to be

Oh I don't believe in accidents
Miracles, they don't just happen by chance
As long as my God holds the world in his hands
I know that there's no such thing as unplanned

Broken turns to beautiful
I see you right before my eyes
And every single breath you breathe
Is destiny love has brought to life
I thought it was my story's end
But now the future's all I see
Instead of asking who you might've been
I'm wondering who you're gonna be

'Cause I don't believe in accidents
Miracles, they don't just happen by chance
As long as my God holds the world in his hands
I know that there's no such thing as unplanned

Every life deserves a voice
Every child deserves a chance
You are more than just a choice
There's no such thing as unplanned
Every life deserves a voice
Every child deserves a chance
You are more than just a choice
There's no such thing as unplanned
Every life deserves a voice
Every child deserves a chance
You are more than just a choice
'Cause there's no such thing as unplanned

Hannah Joy Pomegranate

Love me some Hannah. 

Saturday, May 25, 2019

My hubby

Today my hubby came home from work to find a wife who was sick. And then he told me about his day. Three different patients SCREAMED at him. And John isn't prone to exaggeration. Two had dementia. One was angry because of a misunderstanding that my husband had no part in.

I'm so blessed that he does what he does and he loves helping people. But when he gets abused, I want to tell those people that he is a person with a family and kids who love him a lot and to be kind. I understand that dementia doesn't leave a choice sometimes. But it still hurts my feelings to see him come home beaten down.

And back to work tomorrow he will go.

As for me: I feel SO SO lousy. So blessed that my cousin's family took my kids today so I could rest.

And more blessed that Anni will join us tomorrow to help give me some support as well!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Role Models

Meg and Emma teach Hannah's little 5-6 year old ballet class. And Abigail has helped with the class. Tuesday was their last class of the year. These young women are such FANTASTIC role models for my daughters. I am so blessed to have such high quality, morally-sound girls with healthy body image teaching my daughters to love being active and moving! You can see Abigail up above in the blue skirt and Hannah in the hot pink shorts. After the last class, Meg and Emma took the time to send each of my girls a little note:
Their note to Abigail who helped with the class. I absolutely LOVED how they wrote THIS scripture for Abigail. It is SO perfect for her!!!!! Matthew 5:5. That's our little girl!!! Abigail also had two other teachers: Mauren and Michaela who were two more wonderful role models for my daughters. In addition, of course, to LoriAnn, the director of the studio. 
And then this note for Hannah. They absolutely NAILED the little miracle she is. 
I managed to snap this picture of Emma holding one of the little girls in Hannah's class they waited to perform at the nursing home this past week. My Hannah was super scared to perform, but Meg was able to calm her down and get her to go out. Instead of an end-of-the-year recital, we perform at two nursing homes as a gift to the community. I'm so blessed by these very special role models. Ballet is now over for the school year. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

We Bought a Farm: What it's like to move sheep

My Aunt Connie and her main squeeze, Julio, came for a visit on the farm. Julio loves videos and pictures so he took this rather lengthy video of what it looks like to move the sheep across the pasture. Even if you don't want to watch the whole thing, make sure you watch the first thirty seconds when Wendi gets her rear-end shocked by the electric line. That's worth you clicking play.

You can also check out Arabelle the wonder dog who just follows along and get some lessons from Jacob and myself on why we move sheep every 3-5 days.

Review: EdAlive

I am doing a video review this week! This is only the second time I've done one so have a little bit of grace with me. I reviewed for the vendor: EdAlive. I was reviewing their Typing Tournament Online and their Math Invaders Online.
You can read more about EdAlive here:
For more information on pricing, click here.
Check out reviews from other Crew members here:

Typing Tournament & Maths Invaders Online {EdAlive Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Wendi does the hair AND the make-up

I have a few more fun ballet pictures to share. However, I really wanted to share this picture below. This is two little girls' hair ...

.... and their make-up ...

Done completely by ME!!! 

I am so proud, especially because Bailee won a special prize for how she "looked" on stage. A special scholarship for a modeling opportunity. Seriously!? When Wendi did hair and make-up. That's really crazy! :) It was the first time I have ever done make-up. A huge thank-you to my friend Jenn Jenkins for giving me a crash course a few days before we left.

And while we are at it, a few more fun pics of the weekend with Bailee and Sarai.

Monday, May 20, 2019

We Bought a Farm: Meet our new goats!

Anni purchased two goats a few months ago with a promise that they had been bred. She needed bred goats in order to get more goat milk for her soap. Only they were not bred. That meant she had two pets and with only an acre, she needed to find a new home for her two goats.

We decided to see if the goats would integrate well with our sheep. The idea is that goats will eat a lot of stuff that sheep do not eat. So running them together would help get different types of vegetation eaten down.

Anni had names for the goats, but we decided to give them our own farm names.

The one with the beard will be:

ANNEKE (On-ih-ka) This is a Dutch name that Joan suggested. We liked it because it has Anni's name in it. It means "Pure."

The one without the beard will be:

JANTINE (Yan-teen-uh) This is a Dutch name that Tijmen suggested, It means "God is forgiving" and is Tijmen's sister's name -- he said she'd get a kick out of having a goat in America named after her.

Welcome to the farm you little ladies,

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Some ballet Pics (and my two cents on sexualizing young girls!)

This weekend we went to Gatlinburg. Abigail had an opportunity to perform her solo one more time and also participate in her trio with her friends Sarai and Bailee. Here are some professional photos that we got of her performing:

Okay. Now for a few words from one mom.

Abigail's ballet Director, LoriAnn, warned me profusely about these competitions. My friend, Patty, a retired professional ballerina, concurred. However, LoriAnn said that despite the fact that these things are a "racket" (in other words, a place where parents pay a lot of money for no real reason), we decided that the racket was a good idea for us. 

Here's why we did it:

1. We wanted Abigail -- who is super-shy --to get to perform in new places, outside of her comfort zone.
2. We wanted Abigail to get to work with the director and the other choreographer (Sarai's mom, Elizabeth) to perfect two dances.
3. We thought the opportunity would be fun.
4. We thought trying this was the only way to know if it fit her/us.

In the end, here's what we decided:

1. Doing this was sooooo good for Abigail. She worked on something, perfected it, and had to overcome nerves and shyness to perform it.
2. She is a performer! She enjoys it. It's fun for her. And it brings our family happiness.

Let's break down my #3 further.

There were many beautiful dancers this weekend. Ballerinas and modern dancers and lyrical dancers. Some Tapp and jazz. Some really nice stuff. Some kids were talented. Some weren't as much. But they were having fun. Appropriately.

However nearly TWO-THIRDS of the entries were simply SEXUALIZING THEIR YOUNG GIRLS! These kids were dressed in little two pieces. They were dancing to sexual, stripper music. (Seriously! Songs I wouldn't listen to as a grown woman!) They may be talented dancers but all you saw was a bunch of bootie shaking. I mean we want our culture to respect women and yet we put young girls on stage half-dressed while people watch them dress like they are on a pole?!

We actually had to put our boys off to the side with headphones and a movie because we just didn't think it was appropriate to watch. It was way too much. 

The parents were whooping and cheering as these tiny girls did what they were asked to do in tiny little clothes. I hated it. It was awful. LoriAnn told me it's incredibly frustrating to see kids come out and do some tricks and shake their rears and score higher than girls doing very difficult dances, but she's gotten used to it so she tries to ignore it. That's what we tried to do too. Patty had warned me of the same thing. She said these dance competitions are more about tricks and flexibility than actually rewarding talented dancers. I agree with that too. 

However, they both told me that if we went into it for the right reason, we'd get the right thing out of it. And we did. Abigail did. I cried with pride for her overcoming her nerves and stepping out onto that stage and dancing. That was so fun o watch. 

In addition, these mothers are INSANE. Seriously. They come in with big suitcases and glitter and jackets and the whole nine-yards. It's simply crazy and way overboard. These are children. Just let them have fun. There is fake hair and super expensive costumes. Abigail chose her costume out of the   "costume closet" at Central Ballet. Anni helped our trio by making costumes for them. 

As for us, we would definitely consider doing this again in the future. There are a lot of positive things that really, nearly made it worth it. Like I said, the experience was incredibly positive for my little girl and her friends. I'm so proud of all of the Central Ballet dancers and all they accomplished over the last few weekends. But we are going to stick with our tiny little appropriate dance studio where girls are role models and have positive body images and performances. 


Rant over.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU LORIANN and ELIZABETH for raising young girls to dance appropriately and modestly and beautifully. And thank you to Patty for being my other go-to-ballet-lady. We need more of you!!!!

Friday, May 17, 2019

An introvert blooms

You’d never guess that during the ten minutes before Abigail went on stage with her trio team, she was fighting off horrendous nerves and tears. The fear and her shyness has, since she was little, been nearly debilitating. 

As her mom, my stomach and emotions are in knots when I watch this taking place. I feel like my heart is walking around in this child and I can’t make it stop hurting. We do NOT push her to perform. She wants to do it so badly. And yet as she fights back tears and I have to beg her not to cry because I have just learned how to do makeup and have no idea how to fix it if it runs, I doubt whether this is good for her. 

And then she performs. The moment she walks out on stage, it’s like there is an entirely different child in the same body. She looks so at ease. She performs her best when it’s game time. It’s something to watch. 

A huge thank you to Elizabeth Sparks (pictured above) and LoriAnn Sparks for working with these girls. LoriAnn couldn’t be there this weekend but her influence on my girl is amazing. 

Also to our dear Anni (in purple) who helped with costumes. What a fun group of people. What a fun time. 

Oh to be a parent. The emotions. The joys. The pride. 

The love.