Waiting for Answers

I have seen God do some pretty amazing things this week–both in my life and in the lives of others. He is faithful! We so often assume that He’s not paying any attention to us because He isn’t doing exactly what we want Him to do at the exact moment we want Him to do it. The better I know Him, though, the more I realize that He sees a MUCH BIGGER picture than I do–the whole picture, in fact–and He knows what I need way better than I do.

I’ve been praying for a few things for YEARS–big things to my heart. The reminders I’ve gotten of His love and faithfulness this week have been encouraging as well as faith-building. He hears me. He will answer in His way and in His time.

Lord, please give me Your peace and patience in the waiting. And let me choose Your JOY even in heartache.

Parched Corn No More

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Woo hoo!  These little guys are parched no more.  We got rain!!

After three weeks of nothing but a few sprinkles, our little farm got a healthy, nourishing dose of blessed rain yesterday!  We are so thankful!  Not only does that mean no more Amish watering system for a few days, but a natural rain is always more effective than a manmade one.

My always-logical husband pointed out that if we had been getting the rain other areas had been getting, yesterday’s rain amounts might have been overkill and sent us back into the too-much-water phase.  He’s probably right.

As it is, we got a good amount yesterday, and we are still feeling the gratitude.  Even the grass is already greener…and the weeds are already taller!

Now that the soil is nice and soft, let the weeding begin!

 

An Empty Room

My mom and stepdad are moving, and my little family and I recently went up to help.  We did all of the usual moving tasks–sorting, packing, hauling, loading, unloading.  It was all totally routine.  I was on an organizational mission, and we were quickly getting things checked off my list.

Until everyone left me alone.

My mom and stepdad are making this change for good reasons.  They are choosing to downsize–to simplify their lives.  After caring for 20 acres and a big house and huge barn for more than 25 years, they are relocating to less than an acre and a much smaller ranch-style house.  They have decided to move on their own terms instead of possibly being forced into moving some day due to circumstances beyond their control.  There is wisdom and freedom in their decision, and I am proud to see them move out of their comfort zone to realize their goals.  So many people live their lives, paralyzed by the fear of the unknown.  Change, especially in certain seasons of life, can be a scary thing.

Knowing all of this, and being one of their biggest cheerleaders along the way, I was completely caught off-guard by the waves of emotion that came over me last weekend.  As everyone left on various moving errands, I volunteered to stay behind to sort and pack in my old bedroom.  I came across so many memories of times in that house–all of which were good memories.  I remembered friends from high school spending the night,  prayerful preparation for mission trips, coming home on spring break from college to discover that my mom had hidden Easter eggs for me to find, doing my hair for my wedding, putting my sleeping firstborn in the pack ‘n’ play for her first overnight at Grammy’s, reading Popcorn and Basil Brush Gets a Medal to my little ones, just like my mom read to me.  Memory after happy memory overwhelmed me and I wept as I sorted through old photos and Christmas decorations, handmade cards from my kids and dusty softball trophies.  So many good times are associated with that house.

I am thankful for the season we have had in that house.  It has served our family well, and I will always remember it with fondness  However, the real focus of my affection will forever belong to the people who have loved within its walls.  We are in no way perfect.  We have our disagreements, our hurts, our insecurities and a maybe a few skeletons tucked away.  We have made mistakes like everyone else, and we have been sometimes slow to swallow our pride and to make amends.  But, we have loved each other.  Unfailingly.  Imperfectly.  Unconditionally.

The house is not what makes a home.  It is the people who live there.  I am so thankful for my mom and stepdad who have opened the doors of that house to me and to the people I love for decades.  They have made that house a place of rest, of laughter, of celebration and of peace for so many.  I pray that the young family that moves in experiences even more joy and love and security within its walls than we have.

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As I carried out the last box, I took a look around my old room.  There was nothing left for me in it.  Everything I truly loved was moving on.  That room was just a symbol of something much more lasting than a house.  It was a symbol of the love I had experienced within its walls.

 

 

Dry as Dust

Our gardens are so dry.  In ten days’ time, they went from being washed out in places by torrential downpours to being dry, dry, dry as dust.  I’ve never seen conditions go from one extreme to the other so quickly.

Since we don’t have an ideal situation for drip irrigation, we are using what we affectionately call our Amish watering system–which pretty much equals the kids and me out watering the gardens by hand.  I am thankful for our Amish friend who could help me see the humor in this process by naming it something more interesting than “watering drudgery”.  He is the same friend who boasts to “English” folks that he and his wife have “six-and-one-half dozen children”.  After people pick their jaws up off the floor, he smiles and clarifies that he means six children plus half a dozen children–making twelve in all.  Certainly still a large family, but not quite so mind-boggling to the average joe.

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Anyway, we have a significant advantage over most of my Amish friends; we don’t have to hitch up the mule to pull all of the water down to where our largest gardens are.  We get to load up our old truck instead.  We fill about 15 buckets and put the water out via watering cans.  When that truckload is gone, we drive up to the house and fill the buckets again.  It takes about 6 truckloads of water to really soak our two big gardens.  We tend to shoot for three truckloads a day and then take a break for a day.  Throughout the process, we pray for rain.  I think we need to be more specific in our prayers, though, because the rain keeps missing us.  My brother’s garden, however, is staying well-watered.  (He’s always been everyone’s favorite.)

Today is our day off, and part of me is happy about that.  We get to go visit some family in their new home and water ourselves in their swimming pool.  The other part of me is aware that the temperatures are supposed to get pretty high, which will make the water we put out yesterday even less effective.  I may wind up putting some out tonight when the sun begins to set–just to soften the heat of the afternoon.  I am so thankful for good health and strong bodies that make these tasks possible.  I am also thankful for a deep and generous well that has never run dry–even during the driest of summers.

So, if you think of us tonight just before sunset, please join us in giving thanks for these good gifts.  And, while you’re at it, we sure would appreciate your prayers for a soaking, nourishing rain this week.

 

Psalm 18

I read one of the neatest passages this morning. It encouraged me, and I hope it encourages you as well:

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.”

Feeling overwhelmed? Trapped? Closed in by life? Drowning in your own lousy choices?

God delights in you.

He DELIGHTS in you!

All you need to do is ask Him for help. The answer may not come exactly as you expect it, so be alert! Be patient! He WILL rescue you.

Spice Rub

A friend gave me a recipe for a spice rub a couple of years ago.  I really enjoyed the combination of flavors, but it was a little sweet for me.  So, I cut the sugar in half, and I’ve been happily rubbing everything from briskets to pork chops to potatoes with it.  I’ve even been known to sprinkle some in my quiche or over my garlic bread.  It’s pretty tasty and can be used as a substitute for seasoning salt–even thought it’s not nearly as salty.

1/4 c. salt
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/8 c. paprika
2 T. chili powder
2 T. onion powder
2 T. garlic powder
1 T. black pepper
1 T. cumin
1 t. ginger

Mix well and store in airtight container.

Makes a great gift!

Farmgirl Chocolate Chippers

Don’t worry.  You don’t have to be a farmer…or a girl…to enjoy these cookies.  Their delightfulness surpasses every demographic, which is a good thing…because this recipe makes a LOT.

2 c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
2 c. brown sugar, packed
4 eggs
2 t. vanilla
5 c. regular rolled oats
4 c. flour
1 t. salt
2 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
1 12-oz. pkg. chocolate chips
1 7-oz. chocolate candy bar, broken into several pieces
3 c. nuts, chopped (I especially like almonds.)

Cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar in large bowl.  Add eggs and vanilla.

Process half of oats in blender until powdery.  Process remaining half of oats until coarse, then add broken chocolate bar and process until oats are powdery and chocolate is chopped.

Add oats, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda, then stir into butter mixture.

Mix in chocolate chips and nuts.

Form into golf ball-sized balls and bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.

Makes 10 or so dozen.

NOTE:  These cookies freeze very well.