Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Silver Springs State Park homeschool activity

 Our little homeschool group has been growing! In fact, we had a family leave before we even took this picture. My kiddos look forward to these activities where they can be with other kids and play and just have so much fun! We are so blessed with wonderful friends!
We went to the Silver spring State Park in Ocala. My friend, Sarah, called ahead and arranged for our group to have a private tour through the park. I was so excited to bring what I am now dubbing 'Merica (Josh and Tabitha's kids ) with us on the activity!

We had so much fun riding on the tram through the woods.

It was quite cold so we stayed bundled up as much as we could.
This little guy is growing up so much! I think I might have won him over on this little getaway. πŸ™‚
It was fun looking in the water and spotting a couple of manatees.

And then they even gave us a tour of the snake habitat. Honestly that wasn't my favorite partπŸ™‚πŸ™‚
Liberty was brave enough to touch the snakes!. Not me for sure!

It was a gorgeous day, in our lovely state, with wonderful people! 


Saturday, January 27, 2024

What's in your pasture?

Since starting our little adventure with Storybook Farms, certain passages of Scripture ring more true to me.  The instances where land, animals, and farmlife are used to portray a truth seem to sink in more with me lately.  This happened not too long ago when I was reading in Hosea:

"According to their pasture, so were they filled..." Hosea 13:6

The things that I put in the pen with my goats, they eat.  Living where we do, we don't have a whole lot of pasture.  So my goats don't have a whole lot of grasses to eat.  Recently Patrick just planted some winter Rye in an empty pen.  Once the grass starts growing good, we will put my goats in there to feast on all the green sprouts!  What a buffet! ;o)  What we put in their pasture is what they will eat.  

I recently heard a preacher say, "Spiritual growth is directly tied to your appetite."  Basically you are what you eat!

As a parent, what am I putting in my children's "Pasture?"  What do they crave and desire?  It's so amazing how each of our children are different.  They have different strengths as well as weaknesses.  One likes Reeses, the other sour gummies.  They are so different!  But they each have cravings and desires.  It really is so important that we, as parents, put the right things into their lives. 

 My aunt often says, "Who is the parent here?"  ;o)  It's a good reminder that the parent should have the "say-so."  I want to provide the best pasture for my children to grow in and it is up to me! And, honestly, that does take effort.  It's so easy to just sit back and let happen what happens.  Especially when our children become teenagers.  Sometimes it's easier to let them have their way, but when we know what is best for them we need to be the parent. I'll give you an example.  One of my kiddos loves his XBox.  Growing up Patrick and I had Atari and Nintendo (Am I dating myself or what?)  So we have enjoyed playing games here and there with our 6 as they've grown up.  We have determined to let in be a fun thing to do, but not a lifestyle.  We don't want our children to spend hours upon hours playing a game.  It's just not healthy.  It's not a good pasture.  So, we have set some boundaries in place for how long they can play each week.  (Not each day.  It's not something we do everyday) Recently my child that enjoys the XBox more than others came to me and said, "Momma, I'm glad we have those rules in place.  If we didn't I know I would be tempted to play way more than I should."  And it's so true!  He needed those boundaries.  I needed to be careful of what I put in his pasture!

I also know that I want to put things in my kids life that will prepare them for the future.  And more specifically, to serve God in the future.  For us, this means we work on singing for the Lord.  I've taught them to sing harmony parts and work on good songs, and then sing them in church for the glory of God.  Singing really prepares hearts for the preaching, so it's so important.  It also means I make them practice the piano and their chosen instruments.  I also have started a Home Ec class for Callie where she's learning cooking skills.  The boys don't know it yet, but they will be diving into some of that next schoolyear, too!  It does take effort, and I wish I could say that I alway succeed in putting good things in my kiddos pasture, but sometimes I fail.  Sometimes I sow seeds that I don't want to be in their life.  The good thing is that when we are real and honest with our children, and when we go to them seeking forgiveness, we can always start fresh and new each day!

I'm realizing that the days I have left to sow seeds in the pasture of my kiddos isn't going to last forever.  Time is passing quickly and days are flying by.  I want to make the most of them.  I want to finish well.  What a joy to have a part in the lives of these precious treasures from God!


Thursday, January 18, 2024

Back to School!

So many dreams and goals are coming true, it really is amazing!!

One of the desires my husband has had for VSIBC is for our church to have a Bible Institute.  This would be a college style course that could be offered for those wanting to dig deeper and learn more of the Bible, and then to eventually start a Bible College right here!  My husband says that if our people saw his vision it would scare them.  There is so much he wants to see happen here!  (And by vision he doesn' t mean some magical form appeared to him and told him things.  He means a vision like what is talked about it in Proverbs that says where no vision is, the people perish.)

When we had the privilege of having Bro Ronnie and Mrs Cheryl Munson join our church, God also gave us wonderful servants of God.  They have many experiences in ministries.  One of those is with Faith Bible Institute. What an amazing ministry that brings Bible College right to your local church!  After much prayer my husband decided this is the direction he wants for our church!

We have about 35 people signed up for our Tuesday night classes.  Some of those are online (we have several truckers in our church now.  Each trucker keeps reaching another and it's so exciting!  They will be listening online.)  So about 20 of us came to class.  

I was so excited for many reasons:

~I'm going back to school!  I told Patrick that I really wish I had a Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox with a thermos!  It sort of turned into a junkfood Tuesday, we all had candy and snacks.  Next week I gotta bring fruit!

~I get to do this with my hubby.  Even though we went to school together, we never had a class together.  It's fun to sit next to him and give winks to the cute guy next to me. ;o)

~I get to do this with my children.  (Josh, Tabitha, Beth and Silas)  I know we will encourage (and maybe compete with) each other along the way.

~The buzz of excitement is growing in our church about this.  We have 9th graders taking the class (that's the youngest age allowed), we have young mommas, middle agers, and even some of our older generation.  We have baby christians taking the class, and also those that have been saved for 50+ years. It's varied, and it's great!!

~It goes along with our theme of  "So much the more"

~My husband's dreams are being fulfilled.

~God is pleased!

Our church is growing and going for the Lord and I'm so amazed I get to be a part of it!


Monday, January 15, 2024

Storybook Farms Update

It's been quite a while since I've done an update on our little farm.   I say that almost jokingly because we are more like a Wanna-Be-Farm.  We are still in the learning mode of how to make all these things work, and we are always switching plans.  More and more our plans have become focused on my goats.  We made the switch to all Mini Nubians almost a year ago.  It was then we decided to try to get into registered mini nubians.  There has been so much to learn dealing with the MDGA and ADGA.  Different forms to fill out and bloodtests to complete has been a little on the pricey side.  It was our hopes that having registered goats would eventually be a way for us and our children to earn a little extra money.  That is still our hopes, but hasn't exactly happened yet.  We are trying though!

Once we started getting our designer goats ;)  Jenna became jealous.  She's calmed down some and let everyone know she is our herd queen.  For some reason she has not been bred.  Her blood tests keep coming back negative.  We are hoping that eventually we will see more Jenna babies because they are always so cute!!

Tiger Lily has had a rough start.  She had some health problems at the beginning.  Because of that she has been slow to grow.  She's doing great now!! I would love to see some Tiger Lily/Crusoe babies!! I think Victory would too!!

Calliope is our goat that has a confirmed pregnancy.  We are think she will be due at the beginning of March.  So excited!!!

Peaches has kept busy training Tonto.  He's a handful with lots of puppy energy, but he's doing great.  The coyotes have really kept Peaches busy lately too.  She's such  good farmdog!!

 And then for Christmas we added a rabbit.  Silas wants to try again to breed them.  He named this adorable one "Happy."  We love her and she is so friendly and playful!!

We're having a great time in our little corner of the world.  God has been so good to us.  So thankful for animals to feed and take care of, and I love having my childen right next to me learning all along the way.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

The power of a woman's influence

 Everytime I read the book of Genesis, I'm reminded of the power of influence.  Especially the influence of a woman.

I read of Rebekah and the influence she had over Jacob.    As her son questioned her plan to deceive his father, she influenced him to still go through with the plan.   Jacob pleaded with her, "I shall bring a curse upon me."  Her response?  Let your curse be upon me.

We see later in this chapter that her wish was true.  The curse was upon her.  It says in Genesis 27:41, "And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him."  And then it says how Esau wished to kill his brother.  What family turmoil!  I can't help to go back to the beginning of the chapter and play the what-if game. 

What if Rebekah had influenced Jacob to do good to his brother and father?
What if Rebekah had presented a united front with Isaac in raising their children?
What if Rebekah hadn't of played favorites?

Would the brothers have gotten along and not wished to kill the other?
Would she have been able to enjoy more years with Jacob and not have him sent away?
Would she have enjoyed a more fulfilling marriage and motherhood?

Our influence is so important and powerful. 

I love how the Lord shows us the realness of people.  Sin will make us pay more than we want to pay and we see that lived out in Genesis.  God wants us to learn lessons from these mistakes that He wrote down for us.  So let me remind you as I'm reminding myself today....your influence on your husband and children is powerful.  And has lasting effects.  Look down the road a ways and see where that word, that thought, that idea that you have will lead you.  Where will it lead your family?  I'm so thankful for the guidance God gives us through Scripture in every aspect of our life!

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Mom and Dad at New Years

 I love how my mom and dad come to visit us for New Years! It was especially special to have them come for our vision service at VSIBC. Everyone at our church just loves them to pieces! So to have them there was very special. Then on New Year's Day we went to our local auction and had fun together there.
After the auction we came and relaxed on the front porch. The weather was perfect! It was the perfect way to spend the day as we all needed time just to be together, enjoy the outdoors, and relax for a bit!

Time with my parents is a treasure for sure!

When peaches was a puppy, she loved my dad! It's funny because now Tonto loves that too!
Then that night we had everyone come over for a fried chicken dinner. It was so nice. I'll be together! After dinner we exchange gifts.
My parents are amazing gift givers and gift. So many things to us. We had so much fun!

Can you tell how excited freedom is about her dress up earrings?

While the girls tried on all their more dress up gear, the boys played in the car and loved it!!

ASA received a handmade quilt from my mom. She makes such beautiful quilts!
Patriot is so adorable in his suit!

It turned chilly that night which my mom loves so it was back to the porch for lots of talks, hot tea and time together.
 It was a great New Year's! 

And just like that the holidays are over. It was great for sure with many, many blessings!