I’m not drowning, but I’m trying hard to just float. I don’t have the energy to swim. I am incredibly grateful, and I have no beef with God at this moment. He IS and always will be good. My beef is with and has been for the past few weeks, with mankind. Don’t get me wrong, I love people. I have the curse/blessing/gift of what you’d call a merciful heart. I give people every reason and excuse to do what they are doing, and in return I expect them to not judge me or think they have a CLUE as to what my life and circumstances are. It’s an ebb and flow of grace. I depend on it from others! I just don’t like being human right now. I am so tired of this world and it’s diseases and pain and murder of innocent lives and judgmental hearts from EVERYWHERE. People playing God and not trying to actually KNOW Him and please His heart. People hanging onto things instead of letting them go and receiving healing so they can live fully in the freedom, grace and love that is offered freely to them. Women blaming men and men blaming women. Kids young and old blaming their parents for what is in the past.

It makes me want to just hide… but I have to stay.

My husband, fed up with the bills we generate which by comparison are MUCH less than the average American family, the other day jokingly said “lets just get rid of all the technology, the phones, one car, cash based, everything paid off, build a modest house with a little farm and leave all this junk behind.” My response? “Where do I sign?” He knows my dream so he knew to expect that response, but still laughed at how willing I am to drop everything and change our lives drastically. He should know better than to joke like that at this point… I’m dead serious about it. I pray and I wait, for him to arrive at what is inevitable. lol

I don’t want anyone to think I am making light of people’s pain and hurt. Quite the opposite. I want FREEDOM for them because it’s just no way to live and their pain hurts my heart deeply! But at the moment there is something in my heart telling me to just be quiet for a season and just pray for all the pain and suffering I am seeing. If anyone thinks I am introverting, please do not think it is in rejection or neglect of you. I am just feeling ALOT so very heavily right now and am almost constantly praying for one person or another.

On the bright side, I’m learning how to not sink. There’s an improvement over the past and a step forward!

Peace and Grace,


Winter Funk

Hello late January, we meet again. All the signs of your arrival are here: wanting to sleep all day, lack of motivation, a messy house, a frustrated husband, epidemic-sized sickies swirling all around the pod home I keep my family in this time of year, deep thoughtfulness sometimes leading to sadness and a feeling of stir craziness, scrolling Pinterest for interesting fresh-veggie filled GRILLED meals to replace the ho-hum of winter dishes, the cabin fever, the literal daydreams of a fresh sun-soaked breeze and green vegetation outside…yep, you’ve arrived all right January! Counting down the days now…

In other news, we are still all healthy by the grace of God! HE IS GOOD! Not that He hasn’t given us the wisdom to be SUPER vigilant, but I give HIM full credit for that too! I am tweaking my eating a bit in that whereas I know that a completely sugar-free and gluten-free diet is completely unreasonable for me considering our lifestyle, I am eating both sugar and wheat in a very intentional way and as sparingly as possible, and educating myself on all the very simple ways I can sub out both. As I sit here drinking the fab DELICIOUS new healthful “faux-tea” my sister just introduced me to of 1 T. local honey, 1 T. Raw Apple Cider vinegar, a generous shake of cinnamon and boiling water to fill the mug, I make myself hold on to hope that the sun always returns, and that this powerful new drink may be just what I need added to my new exercise fun to add some vigor to my sense of wellness and vitality. A girl can always hope, and I always will!

I’m off to tend to the honey-do list I was left with this morning, but first I want to share a GREAT new recipe we tried for breakfast and it was so great that I made it a 2nd time today to try out a few alterations to give it a little more awesomeness…

The original recipe is linked below. My alterations:

~For the oil in the recipe, I melted the butter and dropped 2 tablespoons of room-temp coconut oil into the warm butter to cool it a bit before whisking it into the egg-milk mixture.
~I added 1 1/2 cups of frozen blueberries at the very end.
~ The 2nd batch, I subbed 1/4 cup of maple syrup for half of the sugar it calls for. Great for sweetness but didn’t really taste it. I think next time I will try subbing ALL the sugar with either maple syrup, or get the added health benefit of local honey.
~The first batch I made with Quick oats, and it was GREAT, but 2nd batch I wanted to try out rolled oats. Worked just fine, but I think my family prefers the quick oats.
Can I just add that I LOVE that this recipe is gluten free! YAY!


…and there is PLENTY of beauty in TODAY if you are willing to see it.

Grace and Peace,

It Takes a Village…


A sweet message by one of my favorite “Golden Gals” in Christ, Sally Clarkson. Check out her website by going to the “I Take Joy” button in my sidebar. It’s a resounding theme in my life and the very existence of my little family. I honestly do not know HOW we would have come through the last 5+ years without the most insanely crazy and loving support system a human could ask for. I could go on and on with the details, but I won’t. Just an example, my pre-k scholar and I set out with a renewed charge to our home school journey today as kids across the country hopped onto the big yellow taxi themselves. It was a good day of learning and schoolwork considering we have been on hiatus for harvest/canning season and then the holidays! I was impressed by how far my student has absorbed and connected since we last met at the family table. I suppose that comes with a family lifestyle and commitment to those teachable moments. I am excited to head further down the path of our home education with this bright yet stubborn little lady, but just in the one hour we were working, I called one sister who is more of a seasoned mama-teacher than I to get reassurance for one area we were struggling in. As we completed and Alex headed off to enjoy her well earned pick of television show while I prepared our lunch, I phoned my other sister (also a more seasoned mama-teacher than I) and went over our school time and picked up some great pointers from her! When this child of mine graduates high school, it will most certainly be a combined victory of myself, her daddy, and her faithful aunties! I am SO thankful for this and it is comforting to know my own confidence does not have to be sky-high going into this, because I have an army of veteran mama-teachers encircling me.

I’m off to can up some delicious chicken stock that is currently simmering on my stove. It’s sweet to be canning again!


Happy days…


She Had the Party, So It Must Be So…

My “baby” turned 5 years old last Tuesday. I am not sure why, but suddenly I feel SO. INCREDIBLY. OLD.
For some reason, this is the first of my kids birthday milestones that I feel a shift in time. In the past, it’s just another birthday and I still have a little kid so all is well. But this is different. I mean, her big brother is almost 7 years old, but his illness has made “normal” an oddity. Caring for him is like caring for a 60lb newborn, BUT he still feels like my big boy. He IS my big boy. My baby girl crossing that thresh hold into the first year of “big kid” seemed to be a large dose of reality…just because we feel like we are always waiting and life is on hold because of Andy’s illness, doesn’t mean life has stopped moving forward. It’s still careening into the future, and it’s taking my family with it. Kicking-and-screaming!

This is my little monkey girl around one year old. I think part of me will forever see her this way…{click}

This is my sweet little lady today, ready for her 5th birthday party. Another mental snapshot…{click}

This was her Mama-made birthday cake…

We had a sledding party! This year I let her pick the guests. She picked her cousins, and all were able to come except her Richmond cousins who we missed dearly. We had a GREAT time! Here, everyone is getting ready to race.

My sister and right hand gal, staying warm with her hot beverage.

Ryan, Isaak and Danny loaded up and ready to fly down the hill!

Alannah, Reese and their mama Heather ready to eat snow!

My little lady went freakishly fast at Mama’s push and insisted after two goes down the hill that she was DONE. But she stood at the top of the hill and cheered on all her crazy cousins in their fun and competitions! :)

Papa was teasing her that he was going to send her sailing. lol

Every debutant needs a wardrobe change at her party, so once we headed inside, she put on her gown (a flower girl dress she never got to wear for the intended wedding that we saved for her birthday party) I got a little choked up seeing her in this gown and looking so grown up. Today her 5th birthday party, tomorrow her prom or wedding…I WILL NOT let the years between slip by me un-noticed.

My right hand gal brought a basket full of boys dress-up clothes so almost all the kids got decked out in fun costumes! Here we have Captain America and Bumblebee from Transformers. :)

Nope, it’s REALLY Isaak and Danny!

Fabulous gifts!

The “Cousin Crew”. Captain America seems to have gone pseudo cowboy and developed a bad a$$ chip on his shoulder. LMBO

It’s official. The candle got blown out and 4 years old is just a memory…{click}

It was a wonderful day! We missed everyone who couldn’t make it, but my girl fell asleep exhausted, still sputtering from the lingering sugar rush, but smiling and knowing she is loved and has a strong group of kids who call her one of them and always will. For that I am severely thankful.

Bring it on FIVE

She Fears Not the Snow…


I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and contentment to my Heavenly Father this snowy winter morning. Winter Storm “Hercules” is laying down the law for us here in central upstate New York. We are hunkered down and fully supplied with proteins and veggies, as well as some leftover soup and venison stew. I slept in my warm bed piled high with clean, fluffy blankets next to the snoring man of my heart. My growing little ones were snuggled in their own warm beds and we woke to a warm home, hot coffee and homemade yogurt with homemade jam and homemade bread. My plans for the day include folding laundry, shoveling snow, making chicken stock to can tomorrow, and get some organic yogurt going in the crock pot.
Contentment is something I have struggled to find my entire life. I will probley spend the entirety of my life having to choose to be content, but this morning at least, I am completely content and humbled by the privilege of being the heart of this home.

“She is not afraid of snow for her household,For all her household is clothed with scarlet.” Proverbs 31:21

“Six Ways Parents Destroy Their Children Without Even Trying” Series: Parts 3-6

3. Expressing displeasure regularly.

This is a biggie. It is so subtle that parents don’t even know it is happening. I have observed parents relating to their children in intermittent displeasure and seen the negative effect it is having. When they ask my advice I have pointed out their destructive tendency to always criticize or show displeasure with their child. They are usually shocked and unbelieving. “I love my children,” they exclaim. And I respond, “But?” They fill in the blank, “But, he is so stubborn and willful, always doing the opposite to what I tell him.” And with exasperation, and what I detect as anger, they say, “I have spanked him and it seems to do no good; I just don’t know what to do any more.” I follow up with, “You say he is stubborn most of the time; how do you respond most of the time?” She answers, “Sure, I am displeased; what else could I be; I can’t be happy when he is so stubborn.”

It is a vicious cycle. A child’s bad behavior provokes looks of displeasure and looks of displeasure provoke bad attitudes leading to bad behavior. I have said it so many times. If you cannot train your children to do as they ought, it is far better to lower your standards and enjoy them as they are than to allow your looks of displeasure to become the norm. A kid may grow up to be undisciplined and self-willed, but there is no reason to add to it a feeling of being unloved and unable to please.

Any discipline you want your children to have you must exemplify yourself.

I am not suggesting that there is not a remedy that solves the bad behavior. I only emphasize that a vital part of stopping the bad behavior is to cease the cycle of looks of rejection, followed by more bad behavior, followed by more looks of rejection, followed by “I hate you and never want to see you again; why did you have to be my mother/father?”

I have spoken of it elsewhere, especially in my DVD, The Joy of Training, and the article, The Flavor of Joy (found in the back of To Train Up A Child), so I will not go into detail here, but suffice to say, child training is causing the child to want to please you and be like you. They will want to please you only when they find pleasure in your presence. You must become the vital source of their joy if they are going to give up their rebellion and choose to exercise self-discipline and self-denial.

4. Not enforcing boundaries.

The next best way to destroy your children without trying is to fail to enforce boundaries. It is easy to do—to not enforce boundaries. Just love your kids and believe they will turn out OK as long as you do not create any self-loathing or feelings of rejection like we talked about above. Smile and believe in the innate goodness of their sweet little hearts, and trust that someday they will grow up and take responsibility for their actions.

It is easy to avoid enforcing boundaries because it is the path of least resistance. You don’t have to stir yourself or upset the kids. Let them do as they please—free expression, you know—and they will become your average normal reprobate. But at the least you won’t look like the party pooper. It is a do nothing job that has been left undone by millions of parents.

If children all came into the world disciplined and wise and willing to deny their impulses for the greater good, we could just leave them to free expression, but every parent knows better. All children come to us innocent but fallen. They are hedonistic, self-indulging hippies in their natural state. Left to themselves they will bring their mothers to shame (Proverbs 29:15).

Adults are supposed to be mature enough to choose the virtuous path and do what they ought to do even if is contrary to their desires. That is character, something that you’re not born with; it has to be developed. And children don’t have character unless they are properly trained. Children do not see the need for self-denial or self-restraint. They feel desire and they do what feels good. So if a parent does nothing, their children will become quite schooled in the dark arts of self-indulgence. Therefore, parents must constrain their children to right behavior. In time their moral understanding will develop and they will begin to choose good, even when it is contrary to their carnal desires. Character is formed, and as training continues his character grows stronger until he matures into an adult.

5. Leaving them to choose their friends.

Many parents have done a good job in training their young children, and have put them on a path of virtue, but in their early teens they are influenced by their peers and yield to temptation while knowing it is not the right path. Even well trained children are flesh and are capable of falling into sin—just as is a moral, disciplined adult.

Kids are not wise. They do yet understand the consequences of wrong choices. They need guidance and oversight until they are about twenty years old—sometimes a little older. About the time kids graduate from college they are wise enough to discern good from evil. If you disagree with that assessment, explain spring break at the beach, or fraternity initiations. Woe!

It all starts very young. You must choose the social circle for your children and guard it. The quickest way to throw your children away is to enroll them in daycare or preschool or first grade. You lose all control over their friends, and they will become part of the social pool, eventually reduced to the lowest common denominator. If your child shares a pool with kids where just one of them has crapped in the water, your kid is swimming in crap. A few good kids don’t keep the water clean, but one bad kid pollutes it for everybody. I cannot remember the good kids in my third grade, but there were a couple bad ones I will never forget. I can remember their foul words and deeds to this day.

This is probably the hardest thing for a parent to do. It requires great effort and constant vigilance to sift your social circle. There are times your kids will not understand, and there are times that other parents are offended, but a mother hen should guard her chicks against the foxes and coyotes, regardless. It may require an adjustment to your lifestyle to protect your kids. A chicken that has roosted under a chicken hawk nest needs to move even if it is inconvenient. If your church is full of public school kids, you will need to keep your children at your side all the time and not allow them to get personal with a child going to public school. It becomes impossible to limit the social contact of a teenager in such an environment. They shouldn’t have the burden of constantly choosing or eliminating people from their acquaintance. Find a social circle that is righteous and productive where you have nothing to fear from 25 of the teenagers getting together to play soccer or go roller skating together.

Remember, they will evolve from you providing their complete social circle to choosing for themselves. You cannot control them past the age when they grow to be autonomous, so you must train them to wisely chose their friends. For the time will come when what you say has little bearing. Train them before they are ten and you can trust them when they are twenty.

6. Finally, you can destroy your children by not giving them any responsibility or holding them accountable.

Remember the key ingredient is “without trying.” Neglect or preoccupation is the culprit. It is operating under the assumption that somehow everything will work out. You are best suited to the task of training your children when you work under the assumption that they are destined to ruin unless you get proactive and do some things much better than the average parent.

Responsible action is the duty of all people, and accountability is the inevitable result of being part of a society where the principle of cause and effect is well understood. When there are two people in the room, insofar as they can have an effect on the other, each is responsible for his actions, and the law of love makes us responsible for our neighbor’s well-being. “Let no man seek his own [to advance self], but every man another’s wealth” (1 Corinthians 10:24). Seek to advance the wealth of your neighbor.

You should give your children responsibility according to their ability. A child who can walk should be held responsible to pick up his dirty clothes and put them in the laundry basket, clean up spills, and place his toy and books back where they belong. This is the foundation of all future responsible actions.

As they get older, they should be responsible to do their share in domestic chores. They should be held responsible to keep up with their boots and shoes if they take them off outdoors. If a kid loses his shoes he should have to work to make the money to buy a used pair at the second hand store. Even a five-year-old can appreciate the value of responsible action when he has to pay the price for irresponsibility. If a teenager throws a ball through the window he should pay to have it repaired.

Accountability is what you demand and exact when they are caused to answer for the way they have handled their responsibility. If you fail to hold them accountable, they are in fact not responsible. It is much easier to do it ourselves, but the children must learn, and the burden falls on us to stay involved for their sakes.

I have observed a beautiful principle. The children most accountable to act responsibly are the happiest and most secure in love and grounded in good will. You learn to love your neighbor one act of caring at a time.

This could have been a list of ten or fifteen ways parents destroy their children without trying, but these six are about all we can stand in one dose. I still believe the Word of God when it says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

I know there has been a movement to disbelieve the passage as the Holy Spirit inspired it, but the fact remains that when they are trained right they stay right without interruption until they are old. I am an example of right training, as is my wife. My five children were trained in the way they should go and I now see all twenty of my grandchildren (more on the way) being trained that way. I expect a continuance of 100% positive results just as God promised. I will not lower the standard, and you should not lower your expectations because of the poor results others are experiencing.

It is difficult in our world “to train up a child in the way he should go,” and some very good and sincere people fail, not for want of personal righteousness, and not from want of trying, but from want of training the kids in the way they should go. Those who fail should not deny the standard but humbly admit their failure to have trained properly. They can analyze the reasons for their failure and have added wisdom to contribute to those parents who are still in the game training their kids.

Finally, if you have young children still in the process, but your oldest son has been a disappointment, don’t give up. Humbly ask your wayward son where you went wrong. It doesn’t matter what you said, or what you did, or what you intended; the bottom line is what did he believe and feel. If you cannot let go of the anger and resentment toward him or you spouse, and you cannot humble yourself enough to listen to him instead of condemn, then truly there is no hope for the rest of your children.

I have seen families lose their first child to the world, but take it as a wakeup call, and revive their hearts and efforts, resulting in saving the other children from the same fate. Even if you failed with your first child, the promise is still true and you can “Train up a child in the way he should go,” knowing of a certainty “he will not depart from it.”

(This Series Is quoted directly from No Greater Joy Magazine, and written by Michael Pearl)