Count Your Blessings

Grace. Blessing. Favor.

Whatever you want to call it, God gives it to his people. Like, in abundance.

But if you're anything like me there are times when you just want to go stick your head in the sand. Or dig a hole and never come out. Or simply just lay in the bed and not face the day.

I have 3 small children, so while there are days I'd rather not deal with life, life is still happening. And people need me. And people need me to get in the game. So what in the world can I do to shake that head in the sand feeling?

Farm Life Outfitters: The Birth of a New Business

So I've been a little busy.

All the blogging masters will tell you not to apologize for an absence from your blog, but here I am. I apologize for being absent over the past month. I have a good excuse....well, a couple of excuses actually.

First of all, I'm a mom. A homeschooling mom, at that. And my babies and husband will always take precedence over "work" any day. I think that's so important to come to grips with. So that's a pretty good excuse, right?

And next, Adam and I have been working on something that we are super excited about!

Reality Check Wednesday #6

Reality Check Wednesday | Spiritual milk and solid food. And how babies just surprise us!

They have a mind of their own. Just when you think you have them figured out or have established some sort of routine, they surprise you. So this week's reality check is brought to you by.....Babies.

Example #1: My sister-in-law was pregnant with my first nephew a little over a week ago. And last Monday night she went into labor. She was only 25 weeks. Talk about scared to death! And shocked. Bless her heart. But y'all, God is so gracious. He allowed my nephew to live. And he's doing so well! My sister-in-law got to hold him yesterday for the first time at one week old! This whole ordeal was nothing short of a miracle. God is so good!

Example #2: My son stopped nursing a couple of weeks ago. Just flat out gave it up. I had planned to nurse him at least until he was a year old. But no, he had other plans. He doesn't like to be still and well, you have to be somewhat still to nurse. I think he was just bored. So he refused repeatedly. And sometimes the reality that I likely just nursed for the last time in my life hits me. And I have to think about something else quickly before the big ugly cry happens. Which it likely will at some point. I'm waiting on it. And prepared for it.

But there is also something promising about his refusal to nurse. He wants something more. Something more advanced. I'm reminded of when the apostle Paul told the Corinthians that they weren't ready for solid food yet because they were still living in the flesh.

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)

I still feel like a babe in the faith sometimes, and I crave that milk. But then I also crave more. I want more of whatever God has to offer. When you are confident that you are ready to move from milk to solid food, there is peace in that. That's from Him.

So, I'm going to remind myself of this the next time I feel that big ugly cry coming on because my son is ready for more than just milk. God has so much more for us. But that milk, that precious spiritual milk, kept us alive and bonded us to Him when we were just babes in the faith. And we will never forget that time with Him.

Why do we pray in Jesus' name?

Guest post written by Adam Barringer (Michelle's hubby!)

Why do we pray in Jesus' name | When we pray we should be seeking to glorify God and not ourselves. THIS is why we pray in Jesus' name.

12 "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.
13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. - John 14:12-14

When you pray do you always say "in Jesus' name" at the end?  Why do we do this?  Are we supposed to?  Is it a habit?  

As I was studying John 14 a couple of weeks ago I was convicted about how I was praying. 

I find myself saying it when I am praying out loud or in a group, not when I'm alone or praying silently. I've noticed that when I have to pray in front of a group of people I am so concerned with my words and if what I'm praying makes sense. Or what will these people think if I say such and such? And then I always say at the end, "in Jesus' name."  

He is so gracious to answer these prayers but I don't think this is what Jesus means.

Reality Check Wednesday #5

My kids love dirt. This is my reality. And it's ok.

I don't know about you, but dirt makes me cringe. 

And my kids....well, they loooove dirt. My girls could be perfectly content one minute holding an elaborate tea party in their room complete with "real" dishes and princess gowns.

And the next minute this happens.....

Dirt Happens.

A Study of Canada for Kids

Here are some good resources we used in studying Canada.

For the last two weeks with Classical Conversations we've been studying Canada. Oh, Canada! 

When you love all things Prince Edward Island as much as I do, you get really excited about teaching your kids about Canada!

I actually grew up addicted to all of the Anne of Green Gables books. They were my fave...and still are! After I made my way through the entire series, I started on the Road to Avonlea book series and movies (oh, I just adore them!). So naturally, I've gotten my little girls hooked on these as well. You guys, these are amazing books to read with your kids and the movies are just as wholesome. I never have to worry about what my kids are hearing or seeing when I have this series playing. And in this day and age, that is a blessing.

Barabbas is Me

The weight of the fact that I am no different from Barabbas hit me hard this week. And Jesus loves me just like he loved him.

I was reading through the events of Holy Week in the Bible with my kids yesterday and when I got to the place where Pilate offered to release a prisoner back to the people, I stopped. I wanted the weight of the injustice to sink into my oldest daughter's heart....

Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. - Mark 15:6-15

She looked up at me, confused, and asked, "But why, mommy?" And the only thing I had for her at that moment was, "Because this is a messed up world, baby, full of injustice."

Reality Check Wednesday #4 (Video)

My first, and possibly my last, video. This video accompanies this written post. Please leave thoughts and comments below. And check out last week's Reality Check Wednesday while you're at it. Thanks so much!


Celebrating The Real St. Patrick With Kids

Celebrating The Real St. Patrick With Kids/ A little history lesson and art lesson wrapped into one! The real St. Patrick was a missionary in Ireland.

Guess what......St. Patrick is not a leprechaun. (gasp) I know, shocker!

He was actually a missionary. Yes he was! How cool is that!?

The story of the real St. Patrick goes a little something like this...

Reality Check Wednesday #3

My reality check this week came in the form of new eyes. Good, clear physical and spiritual eyes from now on. Click through to read my experience.

My reality check this week came in the form of new eyes.


Yes, you heard me. I got brand new ones!!

Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring

Now, don't get me wrong. I love Christmas and snow and warm fireplaces.

But.... there's something about Spring.

The Bible is chocked full of references to newness in Christ, new life, new creation.

When I see buds on a tree I can't help but feel this excitement deep down in my soul. The excitement of new life bursting forth!

And I can't think of new life bursting forth without thinking of my sweet Jesus. If there's anything to be excited about, it's Him. He makes us NEW! The old is passed away, the new has come. Praise God!

Travis' Birth Story

Do you know why it has taken me almost a year to get Travis' Birth Story on paper? Quite simply because forgiveness is hard for me. Grace and mercy are hard for me. And as I think back on the events leading up to his birth, it still stings a little. But I'm going to write it down in hopes that this will help free me. I know Jesus will free me. He's making me new.

Let me start off by saying to my friends who have yet to give birth, it's likely not going to go the way you've planned. Sorry to break the bad news to you. And to my friends who have already given birth, it's ok that it didn't go as planned. I'm speaking this truth to myself as well. What has to happen is a balance of planning and accepting something unplanned. It's hard. But it's a requirement for your sanity and freedom from regret and bitterness.

I have read countless birth stories online where the mom complained about this health care provider and that health care provider. And while I do have some major concerns for our health care system, I am choosing not to make this one of "those" posts. For this post, I will focus on the good...the miracle of a baby's birth. My baby. My Travis.

Prodromal Labor

I started writing this post right before the birth of my third child, 9 months ago. I hate it took me 9 months to finish it but my heart needed to be dealt with before I did. Thank you for wanting to read about my life and personal accounts. Everything I write about has molded me in some way. This experience certainly did...

Reality Check Wednesday #2

In the land of social media it's often hard to remember that there are endless filters to pretty up our not always so pretty lives. This is my attempt at keeping it real, so to speak.

My life is far from perfect and Reality Check Wednesday will convey that message perfectly.

I hope this series of posts will inspire you to post your own "real life" stories in the comments below as a way of reminding each other that nobody has it all together all the time.

This past week I spent a day with my friend, Jenn. She blogs at Homesteading On Grace. Check her out! Anyway, she was so kind as to take time out of her busy schedule to teach me about sourdough bread. She has been baking sourdough for many years and felt very comfortable explaining the ins and outs without any notes or recipe cards (these people amaze me!)....

Well I left her home with a bag of barm (or sourdough starter, if you're like me and didn't know what "barm" was) and great intentions! I was pumped about making some sourdough bread! Little did I know, a lot can go wrong. At least with me.

DIY Bug Bite Paste

Who's ready for warm weather? (Raises hand)

Who's ready for the bugs that come with the warm weather? (Boooo!)

Nobody loves mosquitoes messing up your outside plans during the Spring/Summer. But unfortunately in the South, they are inevitable. They've already started to feast on my kids' sweet meat and it's only February!! Ridiculous!

This year to help alleviate the nasty effects of mosquito/ant bites (or really anything that leaves an itch or sting), I've turned to my essential oils.

Reality Check Wednesday #1

In the land of social media it's often hard to remember that there are endless filters to pretty up our not always so pretty lives. This is my attempt at keeping it real, so to speak.

My life is far from perfect and Reality Check Wednesday will convey that message perfectly.

I hope this series of posts will inspire you to post your own "real life" stories in the comments below as a way of reminding each other that nobody has it all together all the time.

Often. More often than I'd like to admit, this is what my sink looks like when I go to bed. Sometimes the day has just been too long to even think about unloading and loading a dishwasher. And yes I know all the mom blogs will tell you that in order to have a productive day you need to start it with a clean sink. And they're probably right. But I know I'm not alone in this!

What reality check moment can you share with us today? Please leave your comment below.

Back Row Baptist

I'm not one, by the way.

A "Back Row Baptist."

I actually prefer to sit on one of the first few pews in church because if I don't, I get distracted. I believe my husband prefers the back row and anytime he suggests sitting there, I usually roll my eyes. Hey, he knows about my ADD and how I prefer to worship distraction-free on the front row.

Well today we were sitting in our normal seat up front with our youngest (9 months old), who is normally in the nursery but wasn't today. Pretty early on, he got sleepy and cranky and needed to be walked. You mamas know what I'm talking about....

So I headed out. But I hate not being in service so I walked around the back of the sanctuary with him. I walked while I listened. Walked while I prayed and read scripture on the screen behind our pastor. Finally his eyes grew heavy enough that I was able to stop walking and sit down. But again, I hate sitting in the back. I thought for a moment about walking back to my seat beside my husband up front but then I might be the distraction to someone else at that point. So I sat in the very back and let me tell you what that did for this very distracted heart.

Waiting...Why is it so Hard?

The hardest and best thing you'll ever do is wait on the Lord.

The Bible is full of people who refused to wait on the Lord. So I know I'm in good company. We live in an impatient sort of world. We want what we want and we want it now. Sounds like a spoiled toddler to me. But I'm guilty of this attitude myself. More than I'd like to admit.

God himself says all throughout the scriptures to slow down. Wait on Him. Have faith. So why is it so hard?

DIY Detergent

I've been making my own laundry detergent for years. Originally I decided to do it because we were broke and I thought it would help save some money (which it did!) but then I started thinking about the fragrances and chemicals in most store bought detergents and figured they didn't need to be going in our bodies if I could help it. And with babies, you're supposed to use only Dreft or something similar and I got tired of washing the baby clothes separately from ours. It turns out my son has extremely sensitive skin and this detergent does not bother him. And I actually really like making my own detergent. Makes me feel somewhat pioneer woman-ish. Which is my goal in life. Just kidding. So here we go...this is easy and simple. Two of my favorite words.

The Quarantine

Nothing is harder on a parent than seeing their child sick. It stresses me out like nothing else.

I have been in my home with my kids for well over a week now. We had a "big" snow (big for our area of North Carolina) last weekend which prevented us from getting out and about. This was really a blessing. I mean, the kids did get out and play in the snow some, which probably didn't help the sniffles, but boy did they have fun!

But now the sniffles have turned into coughs, fevers and pink eye. Thankfully the fevers are gone but the nasty congestion has remained. And every parent is different in how they deal with sickness. I have always tried to keep my kids at home while they are sick for 2 reasons: I don't want them to infect other children and I want their immune systems to build back up before having to go out and fight off more nasty viruses. I've been working around the clock to try to speed up recovery with my natural go-to's. And I know, this too shall pass.....

But it's still hard.

It's hard to hear them coughing in the middle of the night because they aren't sleeping, and now I'm not sleeping. I need rest too, if I'm going to be able to function and take care of them.

It's hard to know if you're doing the right things. Pretty much every source differs in information on treatment of coughs and colds. Or any illness, for that matter.

It's hard not to have any adult interaction for weeks at a time. I wish I didn't struggle with this, but I do. I am so thankful when my husband walks in the door at 7:30 but I'm almost too tired to even have a coherent conversation with him at that point. I miss people. I miss church. I miss Walmart, for crying out loud. Haha.

Lake Lure...A great family vacation destination!

Do people blog about vacations? I usually don't, but we had such an amazing vacation in October that though it is long past, I still want to share it with you. Let's hope I still remember. It's been 3 months and I've moved our entire house since then. Not sure I have a brain left in my head. But here goes...

First off, I'm a big fan of North Carolina. Y'all. It's such a great state. We are so blessed to live here and have access to beautiful beaches or majestic mountains in only a few short hours.