That’s What Country Is

I have been wanting to write little posts here and there about the differences of our country life. Some of my favorite (and sometimes not so favorite) aspects of living in such a rural area is natures little surprises……

Like fireflies at dusk. I have yet to get a picture that adequately reveals the magnificence of these glowing bugs. It’s something we have started to look forward to every summer evening. We had fireflies at our old house but the massive amount of flickering bulbs here is just incredible. All spread out glittering across the open pasture. And the kids, as you can imagine, get so excited to catch them. Ok maybe not just the kids. It had Jason and I discussing “I wonder what a fireflies purpose is?” To which I resolved “I think they are just one of Gods gifts. Like, here you go, a really cool bug that lights up and doesn’t bite. Enjoy children!” They are seriously the most awesome source of entertainment.

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20140623-125616-46576946.jpgAnd how bout at least 50 or more berry trees! We just discovered this a few days ago. Black berries!! Everywhere! Pretty much my favorite! Jason was skeptical but I’m happy to say that I survived eating one. Golden. πŸ˜‰ They aren’t quite ready to pick but come harvest time I’ll be taking orders.πŸ˜ƒ

20140623-125714-46634192.jpgSome of natures surprises I’m not so crazy about…. House mice. I think we have finally squared that issue up. But for the first few months we had some knock-down drag-out matches, barricaded in the laundry room or a closet or wherever. Mice 7 J and K 0. We wised up real quick with some traps. However we realized old school was the way to go. We had bought these spiffy traps that you don’t have to see the mouse dead and Jason watched one walk in, grab some dinner, and waltz right out. Unscathed, uncaught. Blast!! Now we suck it up with the viewing and toss the little dead boogers in the trash. Sorry Stewart.

The other friends I refuse to make nice with are the snakes. It’s a love hate relationship, since I know they help with the previous annoyance I discussed. The first time I spotted one after Caleb and I had fed the chickens. Caleb was headed for the house like a big cowboy does, by his lonesome, and as I was coming behind I see this giant snake off to my left. For all I knew it was most definitely some sort of poisonous anaconda out to eat my baby boy. I high tailed it to the house and swooped up Caleb in a jiffy. Of course I inform Jason “bring your ax! Or something! :-/ ” it ended up being a rat snake and he had just feasted on a big one. His belly was stuffed! Eww. I just don’t do snakes. But we did all congregate around him so everyone knew what to look out for. Just Sunday afternoon Jason went out the front door and with a big “whoa!” And “do not go out there!” He went around back. Not cool. Fortunately another rat snake, fine dining on our porch.

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20140623-125837-46717951.jpgWe did make it out to our very first cattle auction but sadly came home empty handed. We plan on getting two baby calves for our pasture. We desperately need help keeping the grass down and our fine neighbor suggested raising a couple calves and later selling them to recuperate the cost and also get a freezer full of meat! I can’t imagine what it will be like sending ol’ bessy off to the slaughter house, probably best not to name them. 😁

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20140623-125953-46793772.jpgOur chickens are doing fantastic. They are so spoiled. We feed them leftovers all the time. They happen to love chicken…. Kinda weird. No eggs yet but it shouldn’t be long.

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20140623-130057-46857207.jpgLast but not least, Sunday Jason went out and came home with this sweet little guy. He’s a pigmy goat. We named him Ramsey. πŸ™‚ He really only serves as a pet. Jason hasn’t come around to letting me get something I could milk lol! But the way I see it, pigmy goat now…. Dairy cow later? Hehehe He is great fun for the kids. Anything that keeps us outside I say “bring it on!”πŸ˜ƒ

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20140623-130342-47022446.jpgThat’s all for now from the Graham Farm!

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Good bye De Vil

Cruella who?

Yesterday I posted about those not-so-super-mom moments I struggle with. Maybe you can relate to the scenario. All seems well and than you get hit by a land mine of emotional stress, anxiety, frustration and you are certain in that moment someone needs to be on the receiving end of it to make you feel better. In a rational thoughtful state you know that’s not the truth but you lash out anyway overcome by your emotions and it only makes you feel worse, sending you down the guilt ridden road accompanied by a long list from the Accuser himself.

I identified what I view as contributors to the scenario for me personally but after some thought I realize this is a specific, reoccurring area of sin that I am not content to just hope goes away or think thoughts like “I’ll do better next time.” In fact as I am reading through this book The Pursuit of Holiness I am reminded that it’s my responsibility to take Spirit filled action and be prepared to not give in to the sin of anger.

So maybe you can relate and that’s why I thought I would follow up my post and share here how I hope to become a more spirit controlled mommy when that moment of stress overcomes me. So how might one combat this? Well my very sweet friend who often acts more as a mentor to me than she realizes was sharing with me something she was doing through a marriage Bible study/book. And I thought “what a fantastic tangible intentional way to actively participate in battling this area of sin I am dealing with.” So here is my spin off of what my friend shared with me. Oh and ps, just another wonderful reason to have Christian women in your life who want to run this race as hard (and sometimes harder) than you do. So often we build up and encourage each other when we don’t even realize it. What a blessing! That’s all God and he wants us to have deep godly friendship. πŸ™‚

I wrote down on an index card the struggle. All of it. How, I do not want to be impatient or use angry frustrated tones with my children. That I know it’s not edifying and I know God has called me to a higher standard and he also provides a different path than to give in and lash out. And then you look up verses that will help you in that moment to choose what Christ wants you to choose. Here’s my spiffy card.

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The next part is to carry it with me EVERYWHERE. Memorize the scripture. Have the card on hand if not IN hand so that when the moment comes your better choice is right in front of you. So far I am seeing the good fruit Spirit filled actions produce. Like when Caleb scribbled all over it 5 minutes after I wrote it up. β€οΈπŸ˜ƒ

20140621-183051-66651474.jpgThere are many other ways we can work through temptation and walk the path of obedience this is just one. I hope it strengthens and encourages you as it has me.

Cruella De Vil, if she doesn’t scare you….

Today we had a really fun day that included going to the cattle barn (auction) for the first time. I’m sure I’ll talk about that later. πŸ˜‰ But even in the midst of fun, simple days, I sometimes will have these reoccurring moments of stress. Or anxiety. Or a motherhood meltdown. Call it whatever you want. Out of nowhere! Why? Why all of a sudden?? On this particular day it was due to several demands from my children that in my eyes were completely unnecessary but not really enough to warrant going from fine and dandy to Cruella De Vil in .047 seconds.

IMG_4629.PNGlol, no kidding, ugh.

And in this moment of frustration and anxiety I will start having thoughts…

“Seriously, you are such an impatient mean mom. I mean….do you even like your kids?”

“They are probably going to grow up thinking you don’t like them… Congratulations on THAT accomplishment.”

“You seriously have considered having more children? you can’t be serious, you can barely handle what’s going on right now. Add another baby, great plan of action!”

“I bet no other mom does this. All the other moms are so patient and precious and soft spoken with their baby angels.”

“You shouldn’t be a mom. It’s such an important job and you are pretty much terrible at it.”

So there I am feeling utterly defeated and just swimming in my sobby pitiful feelings of self loathing which I know is TOTALLY NOT from God. And here is what happened.

I went to Jason, more than once actually, and in complete aggravation said “Why do I get so irritated sometimes? And why do I feel compelled to convey that irritation to our kids? What, in that moment, convinces me that gritting teeth or a frustrated tone in my voice or a great big sigh and roll of my eyes, that those things will make me feel better? They don’t! Why do I do it? It’s not edifying to anyone.”

He proceeds to be very empathetic “well they have been pretty much in your face all day. You really never get a break. It’s understandable.” which was a sweet and appreciated gesture. But there was something about confessing my sin out loud that made me recognize “I NEED JESUS!” I missed my quiet time and had basically been quenching my Spirit every way possible today. No Christian music, no reading Gods Word or conversation with him, nada. So that whole input-output thing really applies here. I speak to moms here because we are often the worst, rightfully so, about excuses. But we have to make the time to be with Jesus, in Gods Word and in prayer. It is so hard, I know, and we can even have dry spells where we either think we are doing ok with out or we know our need but feel like we just can’t get going or we just don’t care (I’ve been in all 3 camps) but eventually it hits us.

“I can not do this apart from God. I need rescue! I need strength. I need Jesus. Help!! SOS!!!”

Spiritual warfare is a very real thing and satan will bait your thoughts with little bits of truth. He can get you so tangled up in your mind that you are convinced you are doomed or worse! (Because sometimes there is a worse right?!) The worst thing for me to do is chase those rational yet irrational thoughts down that rabbit hole into crazyland. I need to talk about it with someone I trust to relieve it off my mind and heart. I need someone who can both empathize and direct me to the path of obedience and truth if needed.

I am reading The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges and learning so much. At one point he writes “God does not require a perfect, sinless life to have fellowship with Him, but He does require we be serious about our holiness, that we grieve over sin in our lives instead of justifying it, and that we earnestly pursue holiness as a way of life.”

I want to pursue holiness! I do not want to grieve my Heavenly Father with my sin. I want to be pleasing to him and I want my family to see the evidence of him in me.

The verse I have recently been putting to memory tells us “For God is working within you, giving you the desire and power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:13

At the end of the evening Caleb woke up crying and we were all still out on the front porch so I brought him out to rock. It was one of the sweeter moments in our day. As I sat there rocking him I knew I wasn’t a bad, mean, terrible mom. Satan did not win at convincing me of that. I do need Jesus though, every second I can have him.

I know how powerful my thoughts are. I know how they make me feel and act. It’s hard being a mom. There are times when fear and guilt try to rule me. But I am holding on to this promise. God is at work giving me the desire AND POWER to do what pleases him. I hope my fellow moms will grab on to this promise too. When you sense the devil trying to get a foothold open your Bible, get on your knees, turn on a podcast, some Christian music, (Hillsong and Passion are my “go to” for those tougher times) or call a Christian friend. Do something that draws you into Jesus. Sometimes we convince ourselves we are alone, but we are not.

God is for us and he is with us!

(Are you singing it yet?) πŸ˜‰

Exercising gratitude

I receive quick little devotionals in my email from Rick Warren and this one on Gratitude was a good reminder.

I love taking pictures, mainly of and with people. I am all about capturing moments. Like every moment. Who isn’t though these days? πŸ˜‰ What’s that saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”….. yep that’s for sure but I’d like to go ahead and add a thousand words to the photo. I enjoy writing things down. Especially family stuff and most favoritely kid stuff. This sort of journalling helps me to be grateful. Grateful for moments like these. So thankful for the time God gives us with the people we love. Here we go. πŸ˜ƒ

Micaila is 7 years old now. Which is so crazy to me. Turning 7 and being in first grade has brought about a lot of new character traits. (Some good some we can definitely work on 😁 let’s focus on the good for this postπŸ˜‰) I’m so grateful that I can say Micaila has a love for reading. Praying that we would cultivate this love and that as she grows it would translate into a love for reading Gods Word. Another one of my favorite things about her is the growing ability to care for the younger children around her. She has always had a strong nurturing quality and it is lovely to see her flourish in that. She is such a good big sister and cousin. So proud of her for being sweet and responsible when it comes to the little kiddos.

20140604-183431.jpgMicaila and her cousin Emma

Ryann will be 6 soon. Ryann loves insects and lizards and frogs and is fearless when it comes to catching them. I try not to be grossed out and just embrace this adventurous quality in her. Admittedly I very much admire this difference between her and I, she’s my girly girl that loves slimy and dirty outdoors. As good ol George Strait puts it, a pretty little perfect mess. One of my favorite things about Ryann is her thoughtfulness. She is my note writer. Everyday after school she would have at least 3 different pictures and notes all stapled and glued together with hearts and “I love you mommy, love Ryann” written everywhere. And she always wants to send notes to other people in the mail. Like get well cards for popi or pictures for friends. Recently I was really impressed by her thoughtfulness and generosity when we took her and big sis Micaila out for games and putt putt. With her coins she saw a grab machine to win a cool bouncy ball and she insisted on trying to win one for Caleb who wasn’t with us. She did. I was so proud of her for giving it to him and so far she hasn’t tried taking it back. She does sometimes do that haha!

20140605-103058.jpgMaking mud pies of course

Caleb, Caleb, Caleb. What a boy. We have been traveling a lot lately and let me tell you, I listened to him for about 7 hours pointing out every. single. tractor we passed. “TRACTOR! TRACTOR! Mommy!! TRACTOR!” I love it and I never realized how many tractors there were until now. πŸ˜‰ This child loves being loud, running, riding, kicking, SPLASHING and throwing, everything. Simply enjoying life as much as any (almost) 2 year old boy would. He is a spectacular crazy little treat to have around.

20140604-184004.jpgWhen his favorite stuffed animal is a pelican, named Bert, that mommy won out of a grab machine πŸ™‚ ❀

We get overwhelmed sometimes, life is not always these "picture perfect moments". It takes patient, persistent, intentional work to become who God wants us to be. And sometimes it looks messy and tiring (for me it's looked downright ugly at points) and sometimes it's wonderful and lively and I'm learning that in any of the moments I can choose to see so much grace from God.

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20140604-184231.jpgbeautiful mess. πŸ™‚