• This is me, not making resolutions.

    firesky

    Just last night I posted about how I don’t really make resolutions.

    However, I think our minds just can’t help but wander and ponder the topic of resolutions when the new year comes along, no matter how hard we might try not to!

    But here’s an example of why I don’t really do resolutions, no matter how much my mind may try to tell me I should do this one, or that one.

    My mind would like me to make a resolution to blog more regularly.
    However, what my mind does not realize is that it’s simply not that simple!
    It’s not as easy as just deciding, “I’m going to write more, because I really want to!”

    You see… in order for me to blog more often, I would have to figure out a way to create more hours in my day. I tend to be a painfully slow blogger… I’m not really sure why, I’m not sure if everyone is a slow blogger, or if I’m just special.

    A blog post can easily take me at LEAST an hour to put together. Quite often, if I’m blogging about a topic I need to research a little, or dig through my photos, it can easily take me 2 hours.

    So where, and how, can I just fit in 1 or 2+ hours of something extra into my daily routine?
    I’ve decided that the only way to do it would be to get up earlier then I do now.

    And thus begins my reason for not doing resolutions.

    One resolution of wanting to blog more then becomes a whole lo.oo.on.nn.ng list of even more resolutions. In order to keep a resolution to blog more, I will need to get up earlier. In order to get up earlier, I will either have to get to sleep earlier, or forfeit sleep. Since most nights I usually sleep no more then 6 or 7 hours, I’m thinking forfeiting 1 or 2 hours of that sleep may not be a great idea. I sew a lot, and cut a lot of fabric, and it wouldn’t be so wise to fall asleep at the machine or while slicing through some thick fabrics with my fingers nearby…

    *shudder*

    Now that I’ve most likely seared a horrible image into your mind (I have a wild visual imagination, I should know better),  you see why I don’t do resolutions.

    A resolution is not just ‘a’ resolution. It really seems like a pretty good set up for failure. Unless of course you’re one of those rare people who have all the time in the world to rearrange every other part of your day in order to fit in all these new resolutions.

    Nah… I didn’t think so.

    However, I’m also not one to give up on at least TRYING to attain something I feel is important to me.

    I enjoy writing. I enjoy connecting with others through my writing.
    Besides, my one word for this year is ‘fear’ (overcoming fear) and one of the fears I have is to write without readers.

    So… I guess I’m not setting myself up for a resolution in wanting to blog more, I’m just working through my one word! Yay me!

    How’s your second day of the New Year going?

  • New Years Resolutions

    Bunny in our Barnyard

    Bunny in our Barnyard

    I’ve never been one for New Years resolutions.

    Instead, each year I like to choose one word that I feel my life needs to put into focus. Last year my one word was “joy”.

    This year, before 2014 was even close to being over, I felt a nudging towards my new word for 2015. Fear.

    Actually, it’s more like two words. Overcoming Fear.

    All my life I’ve had much too many fears. It’s been sort of embedded into my daily routine. I won’t bother to share the whole list of fears I have, most of them are more ‘worries’ and not true ‘fears’ but those worries continually instill fear into me and I’ve grown rather weary of it.

    I figure if I’m not able to tackle ‘fear’ at the age of 43, soon to be 44, then I will most likely succumb to my fears the rest of my life. I’m simply not ok with that.

    The first step I took in overcoming ‘fear’ this late fall was to teach Adult Sunday School.

    That’s a big one for me. I’m an introvert extraordinaire. I enjoy conversations, one on one, possibly one on two, one on three. But to speak in front of a group of people, and not just speak, but TEACH, was a very big step for me.

    But I did it, and I survived!

    I kept reminding myself that it’s a lot like a visit to the dentist. I could sit and stew, and stress, over every detail ahead of time and freak myself out real good. Only to feel totally foolish once it was over and it wasn’t as bad as I had stressed myself out to think it would be.

    OR…

    I could simply study for the lesson I was teaching and not even allow myself to ponder on the fact that I would be speaking to a bunch of people, and everything that could possibly go wrong. Just focus on studying, learn what I needed to teach, and concentrate on how I was going to teach it.

    And that’s what I did. And I survived teaching a lesson. I taught Adult Sunday School twice actually.

    I quite enjoyed it.

    My next step to overcoming fear was to decide that this year I would participate in our church play. A speaking part even. Mind you, I only agreed to take on a very teeny tiny speaking part, but I was proud of myself regardless. I had never been in a play before (I don’t think being a part of the choir for Fiddler On the Roof many moons ago counts) so this was another big step for me.

    Again, I decided I could either fret and stress over being on stage in front of a church full of people and all the things that could go horribly wrong.

    Or…

    I could simply study my line and think about my part, and how I would pull off being an old scribe. An old man at that! I even made myself a beard out of a head of hair from a waldorf doll kit I have.

    It turned out to be fun. I got to spend a lot of extra time with our twins Shaylah and Julia who both LOVE to act, and, I got to show them that no matter how old you are, no matter how long you’ve lived with a bad habit (my fears), you are never too old to change your ways.

    And guess what?

    I survived! I think I actually did alright too.
    Enough so that I may agree to a slightly larger speaking part next year…

    So that’s me getting a jump start on overcoming fears for 2015!

    How about you? Do you have an resolutions, goals, or plans for 2015?

  • Thought patterns, for teens (and adults!)

    If you, or someone you know, struggles with negative thought patterns, this article explains proper thinking really well. *(Link at the bottom) This is something I spend a fair amount of time talking over with all my teens. But even many adults fall into a trap with their thought patterns. This psychologist & his student have really nailed it in simple terms.

    As a Christian, I also remind all my teens to think how God’s LOVE would view what they are thinking/seeing/feeling, and ask themselves if they are believing negative ‘lies’ in their mind.

    Teens especially need to be on guard to keep themselves from believing destructive thoughts about themselves. And they ARE ‘lies’.

    I’ve shared before how one of my daughters often struggles with thoughts that she’s not pretty. This is the same daughter in the ‘Red’ costume I shared on Facebook on Halloween! If you look at her photo, you know how false that thought is! (Not that beauty is important, this is just one example I can give that is so obviously a lie.)

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    Our teens must learn to SEE the ‘lies’ so they can learn to see & think otherwise. It’s their best defender against even worse thoughts, like not being worthy to live… We’ve all been touched by suicide in our lives, some of us many times over. I know 3 personally, or their families, who committed suicide. I attempted to commit suicide myself when I was 15. The approximate age of my three youngest girls now.

    Fight for your kids (and your own) minds! Make them aware of how to win the negative battles in their minds.

    And while we’re trying to think better about ourselves, let’s do the same when ‘assessing’ others too. I see WAY too much online ‘bullying’ happening between ADULTS lately. Be kind to one another, so our children can see it in action. It seems many think its ok to rip each other apart from behind a screen. Yet we all know its destructive, and leads to hurt, sometimes… even death.

    I personally feel that speaking unkindly to (or about) others online is the equivalent of drinking and driving, and thinking no one will get hurt. We ALL know drinking & driving takes lives, and people get hurt. It’s about time we realize that speaking unkindly, bullying others, participating in tearing people apart online is just as foolish. (Even on ‘famous’ people’s Facebook pages- they ARE people- Robin Williams showed us all just how human even the highest profile celebrities are!)

    We can’t be unkind to one another, and never expect to truly hurt someone.

    We’re just FEEDING into one another’s negative thought patterns. Do we really want to continue doing that?

    Forget Positive Thinking – Try This to Curb Teen Anxiety

  • 24 years, and ramblings from the homestead.

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    Today is our 24th Wedding Anniversary!
    For some reason I woke up fighting grumpiness though, so I told the kids we’d have only a partial school day today and they agreed to make dinner for hubby and I too. We’re not able to get out and do anything special since he’s on 12 hour night shifts at the moment.

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    We have a lot to get done, so we finished up school quickly. While I cleaned, the girls set to work on shucking our corn crop. It grew so much better this year!

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    Elsa had a sweet surprise this week.

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    When we first moved to our homestead late last spring, we saw an advertisement for a mama cat and some kittens. She was all black. Elsa wanted her because her black cat had died the previous fall. So we drove the 1.5 hours to go pick up her and her kittens. We would keep one kitten and our friend wanted the other two kittens.

    Elsa had Ceecee for about 3 months. We were told she had been burned by some teens as a kitten, but her fur had grown back nicely and only her tail showed any evidence of her sad story. Ceecee was a very friendly cat, and a good mom. However, she was scared of loud noises, and didn’t care much for the dogs. One night when our son lit a few small fireworks while family was visiting from the Netherlands, she got scared and ran away. We found her a few days later down the road at some grain bins.

    About a month later, July 2013, she disappeared again. We searched everywhere for her, but never found her. We were sure the coyotes must have gotten her.

    Two days ago Julia pulled me aside and said she was sure she caught a glimpse of a black cat that looked just like Ceecee, near the road by our driveway. We didn’t say anything to Elsa, because we were pretty sure there was just no way it really could have been Ceecee! She had disappeared 15 months ago! And, she really had only lived with us for a few months!

    If we told Elsa, she was sure to spend her days calling and searching, and we just didn’t want to get her hopes up.

    The next day I was filling up the sheeps water bucket when Julia called me from the horse paddock. She called, “Mom! You need to come here & see this!”

    Being the worry wort I am, I immediately started praying, “Dear God, don’t let it be a horse injury!” and headed over to see what Julia needed me to see.

    And there she was, holding Ceecee.

    Fifteen months after she left, she found her way back. Shorter frost bitten ears, and a great big pregnant belly.

    Anyone want a kitten in about 9 weeks?

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    Elsa couldn’t be happier!

  • Stretching the goods!

    Last fall I purchased a tiller at a farm auction for the hefty sum of 5 whole dollars. This past spring I decided to take it for a tune up before it was time to plant the garden.

    I had been given the name and number of a gentleman that our friends recommended. So I gave him a call and brought the tiller over.

    While there, him and his wife chatted up a storm with me about everything under the sun from my SUV & the best products to use to keep it running well, to farming, tractors, gardening to kittens, making buns, lard, and more. I love talking to farmers. There’s so much to learn from them!

    While we chatted about gardening, at one point the wife asked if I had ever had banana potatoes after I mentioned wanting to grow purple Russian potatoes this year. I told her I had never heard of them before!

    She quickly went into her home and brought out a handful of little yellow-ish potatoes for me. She said to cook them for dinner so our family could give them a try.

    I looked at the handful of potatoes, and told her we are a family of 7 and knowing how much my kids love potatoes and trying new foods, would it bother her if I planted her potatoes in my garden, instead of cooking them and having them fight over the small feast? That way we would have several meals of banana potatoes instead!

    She thought that was a great idea!

    When hubby planted all our potatoes, he planted her handful of banana potatoes.

    Yesterday we dug them all up!

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    Her gift of potatoes, stretched into FIVE gallons! Talk about stretching the goods!

    Sometime this week we will cook up a dish of banana potatoes and finally taste them after patiently waiting for over 6 months. I’d say that return was well worth the wait!

  • Reaping what you sow.

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    I’ll be totally honest, my girls do not really enjoy weeding in the garden.

    So…when I decided as part of their school year in the spring they would each grow their own fair sized garden plot start to finish, I expected them to complain!

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    Instead, they seemed excited!

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    It’ll be great in many ways for all of us. This years garden was overwhelming for me, I work full time hours plus homeschool, and the homestead. This will give about a third of my garden size over to them to care for.

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    In turn, they will be free to plant anything they would like, and watch it grow from seed to harvest! After that, preserving, cooking, and eating the foods they grow will also be a part of their learning process.

    I think they are excited for a few reasons, but one is that even though they don’t like weeding, they LOVE harvesting, and they realize the work really does lead to the reward.

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    Even though this is our 20th homeschool year, I can honestly say I’m as excited for this upcoming year as I was on our first year!
    We’re reaping what we’ve sown, in the garden and in our schooling too.

  • Camping? Vacationing! Is it possible with a homestead?

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    It’s early in the morning and I’m enjoying my first cup of coffee while watching the sunrise over Fishing Lake, here in Saskatchewan, Canada.

    As a homesteading family, it can be difficult to get away on vacation. With animals that require care and feeding at least twice daily, it’s an act of organization, family co-ordination and some acts of sacrifice on the part of at least one family member each time.

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    Since we’re not a ‘real’ farm and are not earning an income from this lifestyle, it’s not possible to have a hired hand to care for things when we go away. Since we don’t have anyone else to watch the homestead, we simply take turns now that almost half the kids are adults.

    This spring, all five kids went to Bible camp while hubby worked and I stayed home to care for the animals. Then the eldest two stayed home while hubby and I took the younger three girls to Nipawin Regional Park for a couple of nights! That was a ‘working’ vacation, as we were there to camp and check out things for Alesia’s wedding as well, which was later that week.

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    A couple of weeks ago hubby took the three younger girls to the Bible camp for a long weekend. I stayed home and cared for the animals, and enjoyed a weekend of quiet, tackling jobs around the house that I don’t normally have time for.

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    This week, and next, hubby and I are camping with the youngest three kids a few days at a time. We’re staying nearer to home, and our son is caring for the animals before and after work.

    It’s not the most ideal solution, since we do miss out on camping as a whole family, but it works for us for now. My ideal would be to find someone nearby who also has animals, and would like to swap care. Maybe one day we’ll find another family to do just that!

    For now, we’ll simply enjoy our trips away, and the quiet times that come from being the one at home and in charge.

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  • Notes from the garden.

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    Some photos from parts of the garden yesterday. Lots of beets, potatoes, and tomatoes. I’m not sure how many tomato plants we planted, but you can see the first two biggest rows here and we have four more rows growing in succession. Almost all are Roma’s, for sauces etc..

    The corn, peas, beans, pumpkins and carrots are also doing well but I’m not as happy with the melons as I just can not keep ahead of the weeds in that area this year.

    I’m pretty sure my peppers are all a no-go this time. I’m just not sure starting peppers or toms from seeds will ever work for me. Most of my toms that are doing well, are ones we bought as plants. Meanwhile, I spent hours and hours of my time, energy, and electricity for heat lamps, trying to grow them from seed since March! When I think about those hours turned into hours working in my business, it doesn’t equal up. I’m also not fond of gardening ‘indoors’, so my time could be much better spent in the early spring. I believe next year I will focus that time on increasing my products in business, to stock up items for the shops, in preparation of the busy planting and summer season!

    I totally failed at getting my salad greens planted. First we had all that rain and floods, then my tiller died. After that, I couldn’t seem to get the area designated for greens cleared of ALL the weeds that popped up from all that rain, long enough to plant the seeds!

    I’ve decided I’ll plant a select few in a large antique laundry tub I have, and save the rest of the seeds for next year.

    When I wander the garden this year(amidst all the horse flies and Mosquitos we have in an OVERABUNDANCE), if I look to all the enormous amounts of veggies that are doing so well, my heart swells and I feel so totally blessed. When I attempt to tackle the weeds that have completely overtaken other parts of the garden, I feel overwhelmed, and completely defeated.

    This year has been a real mix of extreme ups and downs.

    In the garden… and in our lives.

  • Baby Mine, Getting Married

    As a parent, there are many milestones we go through while raising our children. The final goal is the same through each of these milestones, to do the very best that we can to raise our kids right.

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    This ‘raising our kids right’ thing has never been more prominent in my mind as it has been these past 5 weeks since my daughter announced her wedding date.

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    SO many emotions every day as we make plans and the date gets closer to when she’ll walk down that aisle.

    Excitement for the new path that’s laid out before this eldest daughter of mine.

    Excitement in our family growing by the addition of a new son (in law).

    Yet the occasional struggle to come to grips that my time as “mommy” to my “little girl” will never be the same.

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    It doesn’t even seem possible that it’s already time, that she’s already grown up.

    I was actually doing quite fine with it all, enjoying it and embracing it all very well actually… until I heard a song. I can’t even remember where I heard it? TV perhaps, or the background music on a Facebook video? Maybe the radio? I’m not sure.

    What I am sure of though, is that I have not been able to keep my emotions under wrap since! And it’s kind of driving me bonkers… I’m not accustomed to not being in control of my emotions.

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    Over 22.5 years ago for Alesia’s very first Christmas my husbands aunt gave us a music tape of lullabies.
    Every single night for many years afterwards I would play this tape and sing along with the lullabies while I rocked my baby, and later on, babies.

    Baby Mine

    This particular song was one of my favourites. It’s brought back such strong vivid memories of my first years as a mother with this Baby of Mine.

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    I sometimes feel like I’ve spent half my life battling this little girl. We are alike in some ways, both stubborn and strong willed. In other ways, we are very different. These differences have been the heart of many battles over the years.

    I am an introvert, and this girl of mine is an extrovert through and through. It’s often difficult for us to understand one another because of this.

    Yet these same ‘issues’ that caused struggles growing up, are probably some of the things we admire most in one another.

    I admire her ease in public and ability to take on new tasks and meet new people.

    I expect one day when she has children, she’ll appreciate her mother’s ability to be content at home raising her family.

    But no matter the struggles, the joys have been so much more. With marriage and the addition of John to the family, there’s the promise of even more joy. We truly are blessed.

    Family and friends are coming from as far as the Netherlands, Texas, Ontario, British Columbia and of course, nearby, to help us celebrate! I’m in awe at the willingness of so many to drop everything on such short notice to join us. It will be a true celebration!

    This introvert is trying her best to embrace the ‘crowd’ and follow her daughters lead in enjoying all the people! 😉

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    As we spend these last ten days preparing for Alesia’s wedding, I’m sure the emotional roller coaster will continue and I’ll keep hanging on for the ride!

    Raising children is definitely the ride of my life! I’m quite sure that ride doesn’t stop when they get married!

  • The Balancing Act

    How about you?
    As a parent it can be more difficult to fit everything in but you can do it!

    What are the extra’s in your life that you’ve been missing out on that you would like to find the time for again?