A Three Ring Circus: a.k.a. a normal day in the life of a farm wife

My dearest husband had to attend a meeting several hours away from home today, one that will keep him detained from the farm until bedtime.  As he was preparing to leave, he was busy trying to procure supplies for some sort of project that would go on in his absence.  Meanwhile, I am trying to organize my children to begin their schoolday with hopes of accomplishing much work since we spent a good portion of the day yesterday deep cleaning in attempts to clean out whatever is causing widespread allergy attacks in the family.

As John is running out the door, he tells me he needs me to run to town to get the supplies for him. O.K., I’d rather be home working with my children, but Shabbona is only 7 miles to the east.  I get all three started on their schoolwork with the promise that I’ll be home soon.  John wants me to leave immediately, but the baby is still in her p.j.’s…what to do?  Do I leave her home with her siblings or do I take her as is?  In the end I decided the children would accomplish more if she weren’t there to distract them and Shabbona is a small town (pop.<1000), so I figured I could get by with it.

I was about half-way home from this errand when I heard “Ode to Joy” playing from somewhere deep inside my purse.  It was my cell phone ringing.  John was calling to let me know he needed me to pick up some electrical wire in Waterman. (7-10 miles east of Shabbona).  I quickly called the children to let them know I would be a little delayed and turned the van around for the second errand.

As the van approached the Waterman town limits, my cell phone rang again. (Oh how did we ever farm without them?)  The shop in Waterman didn’t have the wire he needed, would I mind going to Farm & Fleet in DeKalb to pick it up?  Sigh.  What to do?  I’m already 20 minutes drive from my children who I just want to do math with.  DeKalb is an additional 20 minutes away from home.  Shabbona and Waterman are both small towns, but DeKalb is much larger (not a big city, mind you, but a population center for our area).  The time is quickly approaching 10:00 a.m. and Emma is still barefooted in her pajamas with a coat quickly thrown over her.  What would people think?  I told him I’d do it, but that we’d be lucky if we weren’t hotlined by a well-meaning DCFS worker at the sight of our disheveled daughter.  In the end, I didn’t end up leaving DeKalb until around noon, my daughter is still in her pajamas, and the workers at F&F were more interested in making a sizable sale than what my baby looked like. 

Running for parts is part and parcel of being married to a farmer.  It was part of the deal when I signed the marriage liscence almost 15 years ago.  It was a good deal, well worth any amount of hastle to be John’s wife.

I vaguely remember sometime before I left this morning warning my eldest son about pride in his life.  “Pride is a sin.  If you won’t deal with it in your life, God will do it for you.” The words came back to convict me.   I’m glad that this time, the Lord was gentle with me and the consequences were nothing more than a little self-imposed embarrassment.

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Treasure These Things

“But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.” (Lk. 2:51)

When we gather as a family at the dinner table as soon as John or I say, “Let’s pray”, our 19 month old Emma tightly folds her little hands.  She’s the first of my four children to do this.  (The rest had to be taught not to eat during prayers.)  When I announce in the morning that it’s time for devotions, she comes to the living room, climbs on whatever chair is handy and again, folds her little hands tightly with a look of joy and expectation on her face.

This gives me pause.  Is Emma responding to the praise and positive affirmation she receives from her readiness to pray?  Or is it possible that the Lord is raising up for Himself a young prayer warrior in my youngest child?  I don’t know.  Only time will tell, but I treasure these things in my heart.

Bible Blues

Upon graduation from high school, my church presented me with a copy of the NIV Study Bible.  (Keep in mind, it was a congregation of fewer than 100 people and there were three of us graduating that year, so it was a significant expense.) 

I loved that Bible.  It had all my study notes in it from early on in my spiritual infancy…gems of wisdom from the different pastors and teachers I had learned from over the years.  Then I became a mommy…..

When the boys were littles, I was too overwhelmed to even have a daily quiet time, so that Bible was pretty safe. (sadly)  When Anna was born, the Lord used the trials in our lives to bring me back into daily fellowship with him.  Not surprisingly, my Bible became much more marked up than I had left it.  Little fingers artfully decorated the pages with highlighter.  Sigh, disappointing, but forgiveable.  Then those little fingers discovered how wonderful the pages of the Bible felt and before I knew it, then entire book of 1 Timothy had been ripped out.  Sigh again.  Now I had to replace my beloved Bible.

Up to the Christian bookstore I go, carefully examining each edition to see which is the best.  In the end, I find I’m spending too much time on this decision and get another one exactly like the one I had.  Within a couple of months (I kid you not) the entire book of Genesis fell out!  Of course, all Bible sales are final and I wasn’t anxious to drop another $50, so I carefully glued it back in place.  (If anyone from Zondervan is reading, I suggest you alert the people in quality control that you don’t make them like you used to!)  Since that time I have now glued the cover on (twice) and this weekend I wrapped the entire thing in duct tape out of frustration.  (At least it was black duct tape, not that ugly gray stuff; and I do have a Bible holder so no one can see it but me.)  Then yesterday, as we were having family devotions, a new set of little fingers discovered the wonder of God’s word and Emma ripped a page from Isaiah right out.  Thankfully, by now I’m getting pretty good at taping it back together. ;o)

 This is the price of family.  It isn’t always pretty, but it’s definately worth it.

Sprouts Update

We now have 11 flats of seeds planted with approx. 70 plants per flat.  Many of the kitchen herbs are off and running…I fear the dill may have to be transplanted to a larger container soon.  Yikes!  If any of you happen to be travelling in the northern IL area, please come to my rescue!! ;o)

Dawn, if you know of any good books on what to actually do with these herbs besides cook with them, let me know.  I’ll see if I can get it through ILL.

Sprouts!!

Did I mention how rotten I am at gardening?  To add insult to injury is the price of garden plants.  Some vegetables I can plant from seed, like lettuce, spinach, squash, and beans.  Others I really need to just transplant garden plants–like broccoli, peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes (I use the Dan Quale spelling just to be stubborn.)  Now I know that theoretically you can plant all these from seed directly in the garden, but I don’t want to.  I guess I’m not patient enough. 

So this spring, the kids and I are planting a large variety of garden vegetables, kitchen herbs, and a few perennial flowers from seed to transplant later.  Actually, the plan is to plant what we need and sell the rest.  The entrepeneurial side to this idea really excites my husband.  We tried this once before, but ended up frying the little seedlings under a tent made of vis-queen meant to keep them from freezing. 

So everyone has a role to play.  I let Anna plant a few seeds for fine motor practice, but this wears her out pretty fast, so this is mostly the boys’ job.  Anna’s job is to give the thirsty seeds a drink by spritzing them with a spray bottle.

When Anna and I went over to the new addition to water the seeds today, we found that the Thyme seeds had begun to sprout. (These are the first ones to do so.)  Anna was so excited, she practically squealed “Sprouts!!”  I asked her to remember the sprouts so she could report back to her brothers and that they were thyme sprouts.  On the way back, she asked “When they get bigger, will they grow clocks and watches?”

“No honey, that’s a different kind of time.  This kind is a kitchen herb that I use to make pizza sauce and bean soup.”

Now I gotta tell you that I thought the amount of things we’re not getting done this year would bother my overachieving self a lot more than it has.  Somehow, walking home from spritzing seedlings hand-in-hand with my daughter talking about thyme felt really good in a deep part of my soul. (Due in no small part to all your encouragement, Dawn~thank you!)  It takes day by day faith and it’s not exactly ground I’m comfortable walking, but it feels right in a way that I never expected.

New Book Discussion!!

There’s a new book discussion starting at JavaDawn starting Monday. We will be discussing Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller.

Please come join us! Have chapter 1 read (it’s short) and ready to discuss by Monday. Dawn has also given us a prayer/journaling assignment in conjunction with the book discussion. I’m really looking forward to this one…hope to see you there!!

So What About College?

There’s an interesting post about higher education on World Magazine’s blog today.  At first glance, I think it’s something that homeschoolers instinctively know and is contributing to the rise in homeschooling in both secular and religiously-minded circles.

The important point of the article, although it was only briefly mentioned, isn’t so much that “college isn’t for everyone” but that there is equal value in God’s economy for the tradesman and academic elite. There is also good money to be made for those who practice a trade. (Anybody know the going rate for an auto mechanic? How about for the person who installs/services your heating & cooling system?) So where’s the problem? I think it comes down to status..pride..fear of man.

When I was finishing high school, it was just expected that we would all go to college. The same was true of my husband’s family. Now that I have children of my own (and my time with the bigs will be coming to an end all too quickly) what will John and I counsel them regarding higher education? This is a matter of prayer to be sure.