Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fending Spreeze

Our family is on a fending spreeze.  Now before you go thinking I need a spelling tutor, let me explain.  My dad, who is quite funny (don't worry, I'm not gossiping; he, himself, will tell you he's funny) often mixes up words and phrases when he's frustrated or a little too quick-tongued.  We enjoy repeating his mix-ups to remind him of his funniness.   Last year when my husband needed emergency surgery we were on a spending freeze until we knew the outcome of many bills.  My dad, lending his humor, coined it the "fending spreeze".

We have reentered the fending spreeze zone.  And I'm rejoicing.  I do often occasionally ask God what's up or why, but He always brings me back to His perfect peace.  He is my provider and there is much rejoicing when I focus on the One who has provided me my very salvation and so much more.  With our family's variable income, we keep a close eye on the budget.  Exact budgeting is simply not possible for us and we're okay with that.  There are those that would say that my husband should get a 9-5.  There are those that think because our income doesn't always allow for x, y, & z that it's not enough.  How could we be happy without x, y, & z??  While there may be some fun to be had in the x, y, & z, if it's not what we can do (without debt), I can be content without it.  Let me say that I have no problems with steady jobs or paychecks or the enjoyment or purpose in having such.  But something about predictable money takes the reliance on God out of the equation for me.  I cherish what the unpredictability of our income does to our stewardship and purposeful spending/saving.  I cherish how God has moved mountains and hearts to blow our minds with His provision.

I wonder, in this nation, if incomes, job statuses, and the "security" they bring has become an idol.  Security certainly has the potential to be idolized.  During my husband's emergency surgery and recovery I realized that I idolized security in the form of my husband.  See, he's my rock.  He's my man.  He works hard!  He fixes all things.  He builds.  He gardens.  He cherishes me.  And he loves his girls.  I was not prepared to lose my security, my Bruce.  I'm still not!!!  But God clearly showed me that what I need is Him and that He will be my all, my rock and my strength no matter who is or isn't in my life. 

God gave my sweet husband skillful hands and an amazing ingenuity and understanding for fixing and building.  Bruce has a drive to be outdoors, to solve problems (logical ones, not womanly ones!), to fix and to build.  That talent has given him the platform to help many in need and even keep my Dad's halogen lamp working or build my Mom's raised gardening tubs.  Bruce will gladly share what he knows and he will joyfully teach you and will willingly use his hands to bless others.  Naturally, his "job" should involve his skillful hands.  It does.  How awesome is that?  My husband gets to do what he loves, what he was made to do every day.  Even if he never leaves our house to "work", he's at home working.  Do we want more business?  Sure!   Do we pray for more business?  Definitely!  Do I frequently ask God to affirm and lead our choices?  Yes!  Are we supposed to be obsessively coming up with ways to make more money?  No!  God is our provider!  Money just pays the bills.  I wouldn't trade our occasional fending spreezes for all the 9-5's and x, y, z's in the world!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Strawberries & Chickens

You know those days that just go smoothly and you feel productive and satisfied??  One day this week, I had the pleasure of a productive day.  And it was great!

Breakfast was a yummy, healthy smoothie.

We met friends at a pick-your-own farm and picked strawberries!  Fun!  We brought home 16 pounds.

Madelynn enjoyed eating the strawberries rather than putting them in the basket!!

I actually got all 16 pounds cleaned, cut and put up to freeze!

We love kids!  And we love helping friends!  So we enjoyed having 5 extra kiddos for the afternoon!  Everybody got fed lunch!  Attitudes were good and cooperative.  Madelynn and Ethan took fabulous naps! Everybody played well together.  

Isabelle loves helping and loves feeding Ethan!

Then...wait for might want to sit down for this...

We began our chicken raising adventure.  Yes, chickens.  23 of them.  Yes, we live in town.  And, no, it's not illegal.  We checked.  Back to the chickens...

Bruce picked them up at their previous owners' home and brought them to ours in his make-shift "chicken truck". 

Bruce had our mobile coop all ready to go and the chickens seemed excited.

Charlotte was definitely in heaven...

Isabelle loves anything fun!
We were able to feed the chickens some of the tops of the strawberries.  I really like finding a good use for something we would normally have to throw away.

Madelynn began her chicken jumping training session.

Then...  Just before bedtime, our first egg!!!  Side note:  chickens can take weeks to lay after a move or anything traumatic so that fact that we've had 6 eggs already is exciting!

After we checked on the chickens an absurd amount of times, we finally settled into our own roost (our couch) and I felt totally satisfied.   It's not unusual for us to accomplish a lot in one day but most days have snags, interruptions, attitude issues or other complications but...

I love smooth and productive days! 

I may learn a lot during crazy, difficult, or painful days.  And I know I need the refining and growth they bring but I sure am glad when a smooth and productive day comes my way!

Saturday, May 4, 2013


I'm feeling particularly selfish and whiny...

This is our first full weekend at home, just the 5 of us, in about 7 months!!!! 

It's not going according to my plan. 

I don't want to be interrupted.  I don't want to break up our family of 5 to serve (unexpectedly).  Planning to serve is much different.  Service that fits into my plans doesn't cost me too much.  What about when serving doesn't fit into my plans?  What about when I feel like I've put in enough serving lately and I'm ready for a break?

Now, this...  This is where the rubber meets the road.  This is where the ugliness in my heart overflows.  God needs me to see it so we can deal with it.

If I do not allow God to shine light in the deep, dark places of my heart any reflection of Him I can give will be dim at best.

My flesh would prefer to pout.  This is not, however, glorifying to the King that died for me.  He served.  He served for real.  He is still serving.  And I am supposed to be His hand and feet, when it's in my plans and when it's not.  I cannot be His hands and feet if mine are folded inward and pouting!

Oh, God, don't leave me as I am!!   And thank you for my husband...bless his willingness to serve.