Gardening Giveaway

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I was forced to do a bit of thinking about this blog when I went through the migration to WordPress.  I had to make a few decisions on how I wanted things set up, and why I wanted them that way.  It was a very useful exercise, as I thought about what I was doing with this blog, and where did I want it go.  There were all these things I wanted to do, but they cost money.  I prayed about it, and basically, I felt God said “no.”  I pouted for awhile.  I do that.  A lot.  I have such dreams as a writer, and I felt these things would be helpful to me attaining my dreams.

Then the more I just sat there and gleaned encouragement from the Scripture as I was looking for some comfort, or a loophole, or something, I felt it impressed on my heart that I need to love the readers I have.  I need to love the people in my life better, and deeper.  The goal isn’t to grow huge, the goal is to love the people well who God puts in my life.  Growth happens when it’s supposed to happen. It’s not forced in children, gardens, or blogs.  If I make a difference in the life of one, it is worth it.

That includes you.

So I brainstormed a list of things that I could do for you, dear reader, to love you well.  The letter project, is underway.  That was my favorite of all the list.  I plan to be working on that from now to the end of August.  I was also thinking of pursing a few more giveaways, to just get you guys beautiful things.  One of my love languages is gifts, and I like to give things away.  I have this whole cute story about a grandma of mine who does this, but that’s for another post.

When I come across something beautiful, if I really like it, I’ll email the creator, and ask if they want to donate something to giveaway to my readers, in exchange for me introducing you to their shop.  Now, I get asked to giveaway stuff that I know nothing about, and asked to review stuff that I have no interest in.  I like keeping it simple.  I just want to share things that I love.  It keeps it less “commercial” and more just friends hanging out and saying, “Hey have you seen…?”

So with that introduction, have you seen the site Gracelaced?  Sigh.  It’s lovely.  I want everything in her shop.  Her blog is equally as beautiful and meaningful.  Ruth does these gorgeous watercolors, and calligraphy.  I asked her if she’d like to giveaway something garden-themed for this season, and I was actually surprised that she said “yes!”  This is what she sweetly sent me to give to you:

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I love the multi-colored carrots…which is a feat we’ve attempted 2 years, and failed.  (We have seeds for orange, red, purple, and yellow carrots this year.)  Our soil is too heavy.  This year, though, this 3rd year will be the charm.  I’ll have a real live carrot bunch like that, I know it.  I hope.

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This verse is largely written on the wall next to the back door in our house, though not nearly as pretty.  It’s one of my favorite verses about family and education, and what “religion” should look like, and passing down traditions, and teaching  someone to worship.  There’s just so much beauty in that verse, and I love the idea of gardening being paired with it.

Parenting, of course, is very much like gardening.  There is so much preparation.  There is so much work.  Sometimes it is moving so slow.  Other times it changes every day.  There are so many things that are sometimes out of your hands.  The consistency of the weeds makes you curse everything.

Oh, but the harvest.  The harvest is so sweet, and there’s literally nothing like it.  Nothing tastes like it, nothing smells like it.  The goodness overwhelms you sometimes.

Yes, the words and pictures match up just beautifully.

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So whoever would love to win this gorgeous 8×10 print, you can do any of the categories in the Rafflecopter below.  Rack up as many points as you can.  And, I am actually giving it away.   I won’t keep it.  I won’t keep it.  I. won’t.  keep.  it.

(Just reminding myself that this is not mine…)

Friday is the last day to enter, and the winners will be announced next Monday.  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’m Blessed

Jesus Loves me

I have sung the song Jesus Loves Me no less than 278,224 times in the last 3 months or so.  It is Ingrid’s favorite song and she will not got to bed without me singing it to her.  Sometimes when she climbs out of her crib and I have to bring her back, she will sit there and scream until I sing it again, even if I sang it to her 15 minutes earlier.

Jeeeeeeeeeeeesus!!!!!”  She cries out in desperation.  “Biiiiiiiiibbbbbblllllle!!!!!!!”

She calls it the “Jesus-Bible Song.”

The whole situation is just aching to be an illustration.

I have always been known in this household as somewhat of a “bedtime Nazi.”  I’m a big fan of bedtime. I love my children, but really.  I do need breaks.

It’s the time of day where resting and kid-free moments are within sight, and I just have to get them there.  Something happens when your kids get older, though.  That precious night time silence starts slipping away.  I feel as Silje and David are getting older that we are in a shift in our family.  The big kids stay up longer and there is reading and games, and it just all gets pushed back later.  I’m slowly realizing that bedtimes don’t just revolve around me and my free time.

With my older kids, I would have passed off Ingrid’s screaming for more songs as toddler manipulation and let her figure it out, or at the very least be stern with her.  Now, 5 kids in, my mind just whirls with thoughts on this.

First, it’s amazing how easily she is calmed.  I just have to sing a song.  Believe me, I’ve had the child who would scream no matter what you do.  They just cry and cry and cry.  Not her.  She just wants to hear the song again and again about how Jesus loves her.

It’s just so easy.  She is not asking me for the world.

Maybe it is manipulation.  Probably.  I have come to a place in parenting where I am fully aware that they think they are manipulating me, and I just don’t care.

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Something to Wear

So I mentioned in this post awhile back that I’ve been going through my house and keeping it manageable.  I cut deep in my closet.  I mean, I got rid of about 80% of my clothes.  It was the definition of cut deep.  I have never done a spring cleaning like this before.

I realized something when I was reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up  and it was that I have had a bad habit with clothes since I was a little girl.  Perhaps you can relate.  I was the little sister.  My big sister was always super stylish.  She loved looking put together, and to this day, gets lots of joy from that. I feel sloppy in her presence because she always looks stunning.  Always.  (Yes, Heidi, you do.)   She wasn’t just older, she was also a bit bigger than me.  Now, I know she has carried around the idea that she’s the “big one” of the two of us, but honestly she’s actually the same size as me now.  We are both tiny.  It was unfair to her because when I mean “bigger” I mean that she was probably a size 4 or 6 back then for awhile while I was a 0 or 2.  She wasn’t big, I was just crazy small.  Like, my parents constantly took me to the doctor to figure out what was wrong with me small.  I was one of those never-on the-charts babies who grew into a still-not-on-the-charts adult.  I’ve made peace with the fact that this is just the size God made me.  The sheer number of doctors who encouraged me to eat junk food for the sake of some chart, and in the process destroying my health…whew.  That’s a whole other ranting-type post.

I would always get her hand-me-downs.  From my earliest memories, I folded my jeans in ripples around the waistband to tighten my belt.  I never really wore clothes that fit.  To me, clothes were purely utilitarian.  They kept me from being naked.  Having preferences, in my mind, was liking the blue shirt over the orange one.  I had no preference for fit or style.  I just didn’t want to be naked.

I remember in high school, on a choir tour, 2 of my friends took me shopping.  I bought a pair of jeans that fit.  They cost $20 and I nearly fell over at the price.  I also bought a tank top that actually fit.  I saw what I looked like in clothes that were in style, and actually fit.  I got a taste for that type of thing and liked it.

Fast forward to marriage and motherhood.  Pregnancy taught me something.  When you know that you can only afford three or four shirts, you choose them very carefully.  When I bought pregnancy clothes, I had to really like it, or I wouldn’t shell out the money.  At each pregnancy I added 1 or 2 items.  By my 3rd pregnancy, I realized that my maternity wardrobe was so much more preferable to me than my “regular” wardrobe.  I mean, I love my pregnancy wardrobe.  It rocks.  I’m going to be honest, when I first found out I was pregnant with my 4th, I thought “Yeah!  I get to wear my maternity clothes again!”

Something is wrong with that.

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Growing Up

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The pullets have been moved out to the chicken tractor, which gets moved around our yard everyday to get fresh grass.  These chickens will be our new layers.  Our old layers, 5 of them left now, could use some support in the laying department.  A fox took all of last year’s pullets, so we are making sure these little girls don’t wander free until they are absolutely full grown.  Last year the fox stole the pullets when Missy was tied up.  The full grown hens ran to Missy’s protection, but the little ones didn’t.

So now these new chicks (now pullets) have outgrown their brooder in the barn, they get to hang out in the chicken tractor where our meat birds usually fatten up.  Our meat chicks haven’t arrived yet this year.

The avian flu is becoming a big issue in our area.  The large turkey factories near us have it, which is very deadly to their birds.  USDA inspectors came by our place a few days ago to test our flock.  They were going from farm to farm, checking for backyard poultry.  We were told we will only hear from them again if they get a positive test, and we haven’t heard.  I’m not worried.  I am eager for these girls to start laying.  I’m sick of buying eggs.  5 old hens don’t provide nearly enough for our family.

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