Be true to who you are…..

And the family name you bear……

Monday, August 31, 2009

Of Books and Learning

A house is not a home, unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.
~Benjamin Franklin

This morning after chores we all gathered in the class room to sort books for our lessons this winter. I love the smell of old books. I love the smell of new books for that matter. Solomon declared "Of the making of books there is no end..." I couldn't agree more. In the past ten years of homeschooling I have bought and traded and read and scrapped more books than I can count. It is one of the heaviest responsibilities I have as a mother. I know the brain food I set in front of them will make or break them for the rest of their lives. And I take that serious. Most of our books could never be resold because a portion of them have lines drawn through the text and a handwritten note saying "your parents do not want you to read this because God's word says....."
Or " read this part but look up this verse afterward and see how the author has strayed from the teachings of Christ." I am not afraid to ruin a book regardless of the price.

My children are allowed much freedom in choosing what they want to learn for the year. Very rarely do I have to rewrite their lessons. The one exception is the Civil War. They are Civil War buffs. If given the chance they would study it and only it every single year!
I know, it is unbelievable that any child of mine would love to hear how private citizens stood up to the Government and said "YOU'RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!!!" Just call me Johnny Reb.
What I have done is compromised....and you though that was impossible for me?

~ Quit picking on me would ya?

Anyway, I get them one new book to read about the Civil war per year, that way it doesn't consume the entire time but they still get their fix.

The two older boys have read through most of G.A. Henty's historical fiction and Cody is starting on Ballantyne. This year I will turn their reading to more of a serious matter and have them read from leading Preachers like John R. Rice, Voddie Baucham, Mike Pearl and others on topics of home life and home leadership. It's time for that I guess. The younger boys will start in on historical fiction toward the end of this year.

One thing I noticed about my girls especially Grace, she has kind of been slighted. I have catered to the older ones in our group reading ~she had learned to sit through adult stories, biographies and classics. Even her bedtime books are geared toward Bethany. Chapter books like Elsie Dinsmore and such. She has missed out on children's books like Alice in Bibleland and Seuss.

They are all still on the shelf but I have not read them to her... she pulled one out while we were there .. "Oh, the thinks you can think.." So I sat down to read to her, part way through she said "Momma, what's a Zong?" as in ~You can wonder how long is the tail of a Zong? I said "Well, a Zong is an imaginary creature that the author made up."
"Yeah, but that's silly, I'm done with this book..." and back on the shelf it went.

I've ruined her.

Some books are bound in our hearts such as "All the places to love", when a new baby is coming. "Blueberries for Sal" at huckleberry time. "Pickin' Pea's" is read in July. "Burt Dow deep water man".... they named our boat the Tidly Idly II. "Summer of the Monkeys"...~ Often when calling everyone to dinner you will hear...Come an' get it or I'll feed it to the chickens!!!
"Christies Old Organ"....My favorite one for fall is "The Oxcart man". Thanksgiving is rounded off with "The Little Pilgrims" and "America's Lost Dream". Or "William Bradford~Plymouth's Faithful Pilgrim." There are still remainders of tree houses out front after we read "Robinson Crusoe". And I could go on and on... in fact I did didn't I?
Well, I'll quit now but what a blessing to live in a time where so many books are available to anyone who will take the time to pick one up.

You get a Line....

I'll get a pole.
We'll go fishing in the crawfish hole...........................
I love this time of year.... yeah, I know I keep saying that. I promise ~about the end of November you will get a reprieve for about four months. Bear with me okay? But this time of year there is so much food at my fingertips. And crawdads are one of them.
I don't know how many times I have to tell Cody not to play with his food.
Mmmmmmm they were good.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Killin' Time at the County Fair

Is there any thing better than the fair?
The time to get out and see
what others have been doing all summer!
Finally! we have bathed the last goat,
rabbit and chicken for this year!
I'm afraid the child didn't know what to expect the first time the second she was tucking in her arms and legs and flying off the end of that slide.
she flew so far she missed the cushion at the end.

A rare sight, the last four finalists for showmanship were all Holversons. Kelly, a neighbor called it the "Holverson Monopoly". I laughed and told him if he ever wanted to repent for raising cows and convert to goats, we'd welcome him with open arms.
(actually, I love cows too.) I will always treasure this picture because as children grow, they move on..
David, didn't show this year because of his job. Cody will follow next... Andrew and Zachary will show pigs, so the only two I have showing goats will be my girls... they will never all be in the ring together. this is as close as it will get.

Grace and her doeling, Thistle, learning the ropes. Actually, both those goats are from my dairy herd, the little gal in the back bought her goat from me this spring. I am interested to see, in future years, how they will shape up.

Fair Fun

Do you know one of the greatest gifts my boys have given me?
They are not embarrassed to be with me.
They offer me their arm and walk me through crowds
like it was the most natural thing in the world.
I am so thankful for our relationship.

Couldn't have been too bad, they are going again.
Carnival workers are a breed all their own aren't they?

The boys really enjoyed this ride.
Beth rode on it too but I am pretty sure
I heard her screaming as she swirled past
that she would never get back on it....and she didn't.

Only one left small enough to enjoy the carousal.

Grace took this picture.....
I can only imagine what he was saying to her.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Zac's Update

Just returned home from the doctor, and according to the doctor, Zachary's growth plate on one bone in his arm is not growing. He has ordered another CT scan on it tomorrow. Basically if one bone growth is retarded from the injury and the other one's growth is normal The arm will twist and become deformed. I am so surprised because he has had the best time the past two months, no pain, everything working pretty much like it should ~ his movement is a little stiff and he still can't feel the area but over all he's been doing good.
The doctor gave us three options and then knocked two of them off leaving us one.........

1) wait for the arm to quit growing and then cut the correct bone to match the one that did not grow.... this is not advisable because the deformation will have already occurred and may be irreparable.

2) go in and surgically damage the healthy bone and retard the growth on it as well. This will work and pretty much be unnoticeable if Zachary only grows another inch or two. But if he grows significantly ~say another six inches it will be clearly visible that one arm is shorter than the other. ~At thirteen and five foot ten........... who knows? but I'd take a shorter arm over a twisted one.

3) If the damage is only in a small part of the growth plate they could possibly bore it out and allow the healthy part to grow up around it. Allowing both bones to grow at the same rate as each other and as the other arm as well..... this will only work if the dead part is tiny and he emphasised TINY, and of course we all know that Zachary's injuries were not tiny. ~Probably not an option.

There is hope that the CT scan will show the growth difference to be so minimal that we could hold off and do another CT scan in two months and maybe find that it was not as bad as originally shown today. Dr. Mills declared this to be a very remote possibility........... obviously he does not know my Father. Or understand the power of prayer.

Please keep Zachary in your prayers..... He's a trooper and will accept whatever the Lord allows. But his momma would sure like to skip this one.

At the very least I think I will take him to Dr. Larsen for a second opinion.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Putting Up and Catching Up

There was a time, a few years back that I was so busy around here, I swore Shane was going to have to take a second wife........ I would often voice this opinion to him and always received the same answer..
"NO WAY!! I can't even handle the one I got!"
My boys have always been a great help but there are certain things that are just women's work and they had their own men's work to do.........
Now days I praise God for daughters. At nine and seven they are amazing help. They are so skilled and competent, much more so than I was at their age or even at the time I married their daddy for that matter. It is such a blessing to be able to say ~this needs done and know that they will do it and do it well. Here, Bethany is putting up fresh chili peppers for winter. I looked at the price of canned chili's at the store~ the price times how many cans we would go through in a year, Bethany saved us over forty dollars in an hours worth of work. But, she saved me more than that ~she freed up that hour for me ~so that I could tackle other things too.
Indeed, her price is far above rubies.

Thanks girls, you'll never know how much your momma appreciates you.

Maybe I need a tractor...

Well, I had a pretty productive morning yesterday. I mucked out the ugly closet in my bed room, organized my cellar, picked enough beans and cukes to do several batches of canning,and totally cremated two DIFFERENT hoses in my gardens watering system AND all before noon!

What a woman, eh? Funny, it was only the hoses that got the attention... it was 11:30 I still had a half hour before everyone would be wanting lunch so decide to get some tilling done. I didn't have that dumb thing running for ten seconds before I sucked up one of my hoses and wound it tight around the tines..... "AAAAANDREW!!!!" Andrew is my johnny-on-the-spot guy.. If Momma can break it ~Andy can fix it. He comes a runnin' and when he gets it all untangled he says "Aww, mom. you shredded it and I am out of repair let me till."

No Way! I never get to till (any clue as to why?) So he starts it for me and off I go.... right down the row and guess what is waiting on the other side? "AAAAANDREW!!!!!" ~I already told you what Andrew does. But this time he says "Mom, dad is goooonnnna have you! That is two in one day you've shredded ~please let me till?"

"Don't whine son, it's not just walk on ahead of me and make sure I don't hit anything else." And with that I finished my tilling.

When Shane called at lunch I had to report " I don't want to talk about it, but you need to pick up two hose repair kits on the way home."

He gives me that chuckle.....oh, I hate that chuckle.... it sounds like... like a "Woman, how would you ever survive without me?" chuckle.

Then he tells David ~ hey, mom needs two hose repair kits.... and in the background I can hear a big sigh followed by "who let her on the the lawn mower?"

I'd pout...but pouting doesn't work through the phone so I say "well, if you must know ~it wasn't the lawn mower but the tiller."
That is instantly followed by him saying "Where's Cody?????????"

"Swimming. why else do you think I was allowed to touch it?"

FYI, the front of my garden is tilled and ready for garlic, lettuce and cabbage. My hoses have been repaired by the men in my life and everything is back to normal.... today, I would like to run the tiller down a few other rows.......that is if I can get past it's body guards.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Building for the Future

Every wise woman buildeth her house:
but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
Proverbs 14:1

It is strange here that God would say a wise woman builds~ that's a man's job (Genesis). My husband is a great builder. He builds beautiful cabinets and wonderful buildings. It's amazing to me that I can simply bring him a picture of what I want and he can build it.

But me? Oh no, I can't build at all................ in fact, the boys have been trained by their dad from the time they were little~ that if they see momma with a tool in her hand they are to take it away! It was easier when they were little, I could over power them. LOL.

Now days they say respectfully but with manly authority "Mom, hand over the drill and nobody gets hurt." and if that doesn't work they negotiate.. "Come on mom, I'll do it for you." Until like a cornered convict I hand over what ever tool I happened to want to use and point to what I want done.

Thankfully, however, there are many ways for a woman to build her house both physically and spiritually. And it doesn't require a hammer....well, it could ~but it doesn't have to.
We can build spiritually, and it will have temporal and eternal blessings.
If I sit around stewing all day about faults I see in my husband or my children~I am not building but plucking. I must pray, pray for the fault and for me... after all they are probably mirroring my behavior.

Prayer builds.

If I mope because of things I do not have instead of caring for and being thankful for the things I DO have ~ again I am plucking. A woman of God, although told to be meek, quiet and submissive to her man is not a frump or a door mat. She must have a business mind for the economy of her home. When there are precious few pennies~ every cent must stretch and do everything it can for the comfort of those in her care. If it won't stretch it is her job to create more~ Not by abandoning her post and joining the world but by working along side her children and under the authority of her husband.

Unity builds.

The Home~ an economically viable, independent community where everyone works for the common good and the advancement of the cause of Christ.

Working together builds.

"Buildeth" Every bible verse understood and committed to memory~committed to use~ is a brick in the wall being fortified to resist Satan. The Bible is God's love letter to us. Every time my children see me love their daddy or answer them sweetly I set the mortar.

Love builds.

But what about those days... those days when my back hurts, the math lesson impossible or we were stuck in the car all day long? Some times I am just not pretty~ in fact it is easy to stand on Satan's side and fire cannons at my own walls. In the Army it is called "friendly fire" but I see nothing friendly about it and it does more damage than the enemy ever could. Oh, Lord help me to build not only this home but with an eye on the future~ their homes as well. Please teach me to shut my mouth~ to pray~ to smile when it is hard. There is generation after generation depending on it. Children are wonderful at playing follow the leader.

A soft answer turneth away wrath............

Let your speech be always with grace.................

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Letting Go...

Hmmm. I'm not sure I can write this one.

Early February my lead doe gave birth to two little kids. And Bethany instantly fell in love with the female. She was half Boer so qualified for a market meat goat competition. Bethany decided that "Carmel" would be her project. I tried to talk her out of it because Carmel was little and females do not grow as fast as wethers. Nothin' doin'. Every day for the next six months Bethany would head outside to feed and brush and play with Carmel.

It is surprising how things grow with love and a little grain. I wish Bethany would have decided to care for the two orphans I have out there struggling to survive under my care.... I am keeping them for breeders because they are full Boer but they could sure use some of Bethany's TLC. Carmel grew and grew and soon passed all the other market wethers we had out in the pasture. Bethany was the perfect mother, putting everything she had into her goat.

A few weeks back Bethany was peeling potatoes and I was fixing dinner when she asked "Momma, are you going to buy back the goats if they go resale after the auction?"

Yes, I was because I can always buy them cheaper on the floor price and then make a little money on them by selling them privately. It's a business move and nothing more but I was afraid she would ask to keep Carmel so I answered with a question of my own...


"Ah, I was just thinking she's a female and it would be a shame to have someone eat her. Would you try to find her a good home first?"

Whew! Find her a good home? Yes, I could do that. I had several people waiting for breeders or weed eater... yes, I could find her a good home. I just didn't want to have to winter an extra goat. It was a pretty good bet that Carmel would go resale....goats always went resale....Bethany was happy.

Fast forward a few weeks and she is now sitting in the auction ring.... a butcher from St. Anthony is bidding on Carmel and wins the bid.... $275......she waits, and waits, but no one hollers out resale. Carmel will be kept and butchered.

I guess I don't have to explain the tears.........

or the torment of a mother watching them..................

The butcher would pick her up at six that night. All day long my multiple personalities fought with each other:

Mom Me:
You could just offer him two of the wethers... after all he's a business man, double the meat for her, he'd take it.

Business Me:
That is totally impractical you know. After all you are a business woman too. You know better than to be ruled by emotions. We are talking about a goat here!

Mom Me:
What good is being the boss if you can't use it for the comfort of your family? She is so upset. She already had to give up her dog this spring. You can't let her be so unhappy.

It was not pretty. A long day to say the least. I spent a lot of time in prayer. And a lot of time simply lost for a solution. My heart was breaking for my daughter.

In the end the Mom Me won... but not as you may expect.

My Lord and I had a long heart to heart and as He renewed my
vision for my children it all became clear.

Carmel went with the butcher.

How could I? I'm cruel! I know, but you see I was reminded ~ my job is not to make life smooth and soft for my children. My job is to lead their hearts to their Saviour. I will not always be here to do things for them. Oh, God, I pray that I will leave this earth before they do. So, who will she have after that? Who must she turn to for comfort?
He is the only one who will never fail her. I must help her to understand that His will is perfect. I must teach her to walk in the storm with her heart full of faith and mind full of peace. She cannot rely on me or any other flesh. She must turn to him and him alone. There are trials ahead for my sweet little girl. Trials more severe than the death of a goat. I cannot not stop them nor should I want to. Her growth is much more precious than that.

Bethany no longer wore the smiling face of a grand champion, she was so distracted watching for the buyer she couldn't even pose for pictures. But in the end, she understood. The consolations of God are not small with his children.
She walked away from the fair grounds alone but at peace.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Momma Said....

Have you ever heard that animals take on the personality of their owners? Poor Chief deserves better than me. I'm afraid you'll have to click on his picture to get the full effect and then I'll tell you about it.
We have had a cold and wet summer. Even after a complete muck out there is still a lot of "scum" in the corral area that I just cannot seem to get rid of. To make matters worse the dyke that protects the barn from the irrigated pasture broke the last time we irrigated and flooded the corral AGAIN. Nobody was happy about it except Chief and General... guard dogs turned puppy when the water made them a nice place to splash.

Here is where poor Chief needs a new personality to take on. He was running through the corral with ears and jowls just a flappin' when one big dumb foot stepped on the other big dumb foot and before he could react he was torpedoed face first under the water....and all it's scum. It was no longer fun and he came totally humbled and whimpering looking for someone to love him better.

Man o' man have I ever had days like that... only it's not usually my feet that land me in a pile but my mouth! Sometimes my speech has about as much grace and tact, as a Newfie running through a mud puddle. There are days that I cry out to God "Oh, why didn't you just make me mute???"

The bible repeatedly warns us that our tongue is as dangerous as a sword. The wounds we give can be deadly, maybe not to the body but deadly to the soul. The hardest part to remember is that the ones we love the most are the ones who we tend to be hardest on....................

How many times have I been in the middle of dressing down one of my children and the phone rings and I am instantly sugar sweet to the caller on the line? I'd be ashamed if I could actually count them all up. But it proves that I am in total control. I cannot say "you make me so angry!" because the truth is I make myself angry. I can turn it on and off like a switch. I cannot say "I've had a bad day" because all that shows is I am not resting in the protection of my Saviour. When my speech is less than gracious and my mood undesirable I have no one to blame but myself. NO ONE.
My Lord has been convicting me of this lately, I have so many thoughts running a muck in my head I can't get them all straight. I will have to post more on this later. Until then I am going to practice speaking softer and smiling sweeter.
I just might find I like it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

From Boys to Men

This is a journal entry from two years ago.... I was reminded of it today when a water fight broke out during chore time. It turned into a wrestling match between the older three.... At 180lbs a piece and almost exactly the same height. No one could come out on top for very long.

They all lay laughing and exhausted on the lawn afterwards and it was very hard not to go sit on them myself and declare myself the victor! I was afraid of being challenged though, and even as tired as they were I'd have been thrown in the water trough!
Not really, they are very careful with their old Ma.

... at the time we had a buck goat that we called Stinky Pete. Mean, I know. He started out with a romantic name but he had such a nasty, evil temper... well, you'd call him Stinky Pete too.
It begins...

Gird up now thy loins, like a man... Job 38:3

How fast little boys become men, I look at mine and stand in awe of what a few years will do.

Yesterday, I saw David and Cody each at different times provoke our new buck~ just so they could force him under their control. Now, I will be the first to admit that he is the nastiest creature ever created and needs very little provoking before he attacks, I have bruises on my legs that I think will never heal, and more than once have hobbled out of the pasture after being slammed against the fence by him. Stinky Pete is headed for a Mexican taco as soon as I can raise up a replacement.

My boys, however, went out of their way. Walking up to him and standing right next to him. He would stomp and grunt and push with his head and then finally attack. He weighs about 150 lbs so David has about seven pounds over him and Cody none. Before it was over both boys would be triumphantly sitting on him with his head pinned to the ground. When released Stinky Pete would run away chewing the whole time and they would turn around reeking of buck, to notice that I was standing there watching........
head slung low and giving me that "I'm caught" grin...... They should have been twins~ hours apart this situation played its self out in pretty much the same way twice.

"Son, a real man doesn't go looking for a fight to prove he is strong....he just uses his strength to protect those in his care when there is a threat."

"Yes 'um."

"You stink, go bath."

"Yes 'um.......... mom, he's been at me and tempting me for days....... I had to show........"

I look up at him and he walks away, leaving the sentence unfinished. When God gave Adam and all the sons of Adam the right to take dominion of the earth~ He must have laid it on the younger ones a little thick.

Some day they will stand, as the guardians of their own gates. Oh, how I pray that they will stand, not as hot headed youth, spoiling for a fight but as compassionate guards waiting to protect all in their care and fight only when necessary.

A wise man is strong, yea a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

Proverbs 24:5

Monday, August 10, 2009

August Flowers

Okay, maybe God's favorite color isn't just green.......

I wish all of my wildflower patch looked like this. But for some reason I cannot wrap my mind around the "wild" part. I fret when there are weeds in my patch and really go nuts when there is quack grass.... well the front part of the flower bed had so much grass that I finally sprayed it! Wouldn't ya know the only thing that survived the spraying was the grass.... I will be replanting it next spring. I hope when I get to heaven God makes me a groundskeeper.... I'd love to see how things grow in a world without weeds and rotten weather........