November 28, 2010

"Looking Well to the Ways of My Household"

The Big Picture
So much was packed into this last week, it felt like a month!
The Details
House Happenings...
I don't have much of anything to report about my house, but Bryan (age 18) participated in a "house-raising" for a sweet young couple in our church. He's never done any framing work before, but wonderful men from our church were willing to train any and all interested workers, so he learned some good skills that he will absolutely need as a farmer! (He won't have enough money to "call someone to fix it/build it!") He has the opportunity to continue helping build this house, so we are praying he will find lots of time in his schedule!

Thursday was, of course, Thanksgiving...Friday we put up all the outdoor Christmas decorations (an evergreen swag over the front porch, wreaths on the porch and garage lights, and a "Merry Christmas" sign on the front door.

Then we put out the indoor decorations that we enjoy every year.


(The tree is just getting started, there are lots more decorations to go!)
Saturday, Christine and her family joined us for our annual trip of 2.5 hours north to Waunakee, Wisconsin and CaPaul's Tree Farm where we cut down our tree each year. We found CaPaul's a number of years ago after we'd spent a marvelous Thanksgiving...just the 4 of us and our dog...wayyyyyy up north in Hazelhurst, Wisconsin (north of Rhinelander and South of Minoqua) in a rented cabin on Lake Kaubashine. It was about a 7 hour trip north from our home. While up there, I visited a coffee shop with WiFi, and scouted the internet for a tree farm that would be on our way back home but close to the highway so we wouldn't add too much time to the long trip. We found CaPaul's, and their trees were so healthy and lovely, and the family so unbelievably kind, that we've gone back every year. It makes for a really long day, but we've never been tempted to skip the trip!

6 good buddies (my 2 boys and Christine's 4)
Bryan and Nathan hunting for just the right one...
This is it! Nathan's cutting this year; Dad gives suggestions of where to start.
It only took about 1 minute...maybe less...Nathan's cut a lot of trees at Kline Creek Farm, so he's fast!
It's nice having teenagers...Dad gets to stand back and enjoy the view!
Nathan enjoying the job...
Pretending to be tired...
Bryan trimming the low branches off...
Let's go!
Securing it to the car roof...and this is Christine's youngest, Thomas, in the foreground.
We did leave Sunny (dog) at home this year, and our dear next-door-neighbor came over in the afternoon to care for her (we trade doggy-care often, so glad we can do that for each other!). Sunny usually comes along for the trip to WI, and she loves it out there, but there were 2 reasons to NOT take her this time:
1) We had decided, with Christine's family, to go to Cracker Barrel for dinner on the way home (when we've gone in the past, we just got fast-food), and we knew it would be too cold to leave Sunny in the car for an hour or more).
2) On Wednesday evening (the day before Thanksgiving), I had to take Sunny to the vet as she was holding up her front paw and crying a lot, and wouldn't raise her head. I am SO glad they were still open at 5:30pm! The doctor did a really thorough exam, and, in the end, said she was pretty sure it was arthritis in her spine and neck, and probably a bad disc and/or pinched nerve. She gave me some Rimadyl (doggy pain pills with anti-inflammatory), suggested we get her a raised doggy dish set so she wouldn't put stress on her neck and spine while eating, which we did...

...and to just let her "lay low" for a week. (Sunny is doing MUCH better now, btw!)

SO...we now have our tree in the family room, and it is "half-dressed" at this point. Lights, tinsel-garland, and glass beads are on...the most "labor-intensive" part! It's late, and we're all tired from hiking around the zoo today (see "Talkin' About Teenagers" below for details), so we'll finish it tomorrow, and you'll see it in next week's WWU!

Talkin' About Teenagers...
Wow, time is just rocketing by. Bryan is just under one month away from graduating from our homeschool high school! The graduation announcements have been mailed, and the New Year's Day graduation party plans are kicking into high gear!
Front Yard Sign...all the public school kids have these for their sports team and at graduation, so we got one for Bryan!
He is sooooo excited, and he is working VERY hard on the remaining high school assignments, in addition to his full load at the college (he has 6 classes there!).

One of his college classes (Animal Science) required a trip to the zoo as part of their brief "nod" to the animal rights folks (this is a class for future farmers, btw, so they are raising our food). It's an "animal happiness" survey...we think it's pretty funny and silly, but it was a beautiful day in northern Illinois today, so why not have fun at the zoo? We used to go all the time when the boys were little...it was a sweet trip down memory lane for us all. We got there at about 2pm and stayed until about 4:30 or so.

Both Bryan and Nathan have enjoyed this long weekend with no school (though Bryan's doing the high school work even during vacation breaks). Nathan pushed so hard all summer with his 2 college classes, he's pretty burned out. So this 5 day weekend was JUST the ticket for him! He's pretty tired, I'm glad he could rest some.

Both boys are registered at the colleges for next semester's classes. Final exams at both colleges begin December 13th, and I think they're both done by the 16th. Then they have about a month off before the next semester begins, PTL! Our homeschool classes may work on a slightly different plan, but the heavy workloads of the college will be on winter break, at least. WE CAN'T WAIT!!!

My Creative Side...
Creating Bryan's grad announcements and invitations; giving my blog its winter-outfit (what do you think of it? I don't usually do blue...but this was really fun to do!); and now decorating for Christmas has consumed my creative energies. Next I will be using my new rubber stamps to create a Christmas card...Christine and our dear, dear friend, Nan, have been teaching me stamping! I still want to knit a pair of fingerless gloves...and I still think I'll get to them, I'm not giving up on the idea!

Kitchen Happenings...
Christine and I did something fun, and it "arrived" on Tuesday. (Are you getting an idea yet of what awesome great friends she and I are, LOL?!?) We have another mutual dear friend, Karen. Karen and her family live on a farmette about 2 hours from us, and this year they raised some Piedmontese beef cattle...all natural (organic, but didn't pay to get it certified), grass fed and fully grass finished, so it's really healthy for us. They offered some to us, so our two families bought and split a side of beef! I had NO IDEA how much meat that was! My quarter side totally filled my freezer chest, I don't think I'll have to buy beef for another year, LOL!

Between that and all the freezer meal-starters I made 2 weeks ago, I have very little space left in any of my freezers! What an incredible blessing!!!

Freezer Meal Starter Packets

This is Shani's Crock-Pot Bean and Veggie Soup...click link for recipe
In the Garden...
(The garden is now closed for the season!)

Where the Lord and I Walked This Week...
This week I've had some really good times of personal prayer and intercessory prayer for friends, as well. God has laid some things on my heart that I've been pondering for some time now, and He has brought clarity to me on some issues, for which I am thankful. This Proverb...

is on my heart an awful lot lately. I've written so much in this WWU already, I think I'll hold off on expounding upon where the Lord is taking me in terms of "looking well to the ways of my household" for a couple more weeks, while I get my mind wrapped around what I have been learning and where I believe He wants me to go with it. I will call it a night for now, since it's 11:45pm here, and I am so tired!

November 26, 2010

FFG: My Thanksgiving Table

To join the Fun of Friday FarmGirls@Heart, please include a link to my blog in your post, or grab one of my FFG buttons for your posts and to place in your sidebar! 
You can grab code HERE.

Wow, did it ever get cold here in Illinois! The weatherman said it would go to about 18 degrees F (which is about -7 degrees C), and as I sit in my little upstairs "office," I'm FREEZING! So I'll make this quick!

We had a nice, quiet, subdued Thanksgiving dinner with my parents and dh's mother (his father passed away many years ago). I thought it would be fun to post photos of our Thanksgiving tables (for those of us FarmGirls here in the U.S.), so here are some of mine:

I like to decorate with food...here are squashes, nuts, and tri-color popcorn in the candlepans.
Sweet Apple Hand Pies and Pumpkin Pie
Me, my MIL, and my Daddy
My Daddy, my Mom, Nathan, and Bryan
I'd love to know how your Thanksgiving celebration was, and for those of you who are not from the USA, share whatever you'd like with us!

To all my FarmGirl @ Heart friends, have a great Friday!
Here's how to join the fun:
1) Grab an FFG (Friday FarmGirls) Button for your blog and post it in your sidebar so others can join with you. I have 6 styles you can choose from, and you can get code HERE.



2) Write your post and publish it on Friday...be sure to put your FFG Button at the top of your post, and link it to my blog ( http://www.illinoislori.blogspot.com/ ) so your friends will know where to come to join in each week.

3) Add your name and the URL of your post to the "Mister Linky" provided at the end of my post each week.

4) Leave me a comment, and visit the blogs of the other participants listed and leave them comments as well. If you visit and leave comments, you'll be visited and receive comments...it's as simple as that!



November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

I know that I'll be very busy on Thursday, so I want to send out my wishes for a blessed and joyous Thanksgiving to you all! To my Canadian friends, I know you've already celebrated Thanksgiving, so just know that I am thankful for you, and that is part of my list of Thanksgiving!

Friday morning will bring my weekly Friday FarmGirls @ Heart post...and my blog's new winter design (if I don't mess it up)! I would dearly LOVE IT if everyone would link up this week with Friday FarmGirls, and post a photo of your Thanksgiving table! Post whatever you want, but that would be fun and easy to do...so join in! 

  

November 23, 2010

A Month of Thanksgiving ~ The Final Day, Thirty-One

This final "Month of Thanksgiving" post is part of a giveaway hosted by my friend Tamara at Branch of Wisdom . It's been a lovely journey, difficult at times to keep up, but I'm so glad I joined in. Thank you, Tamara, for inviting all of us, and for hosting so faithfully!
Please visit her lovely blog to learn more!

The fact that God would look upon my broken heart and accept me into His family is the greatest blessing that I have ever experienced. I'm sure we would all say the same. The fact that He continues to put up with me, to forgive my shortcomings and to continue to mold and shape me into the person that He sees I can be and that He desires me to be astounds me. And the fact that He offers me the opportunity to share in the inheritance He has for His Son, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is the greatest mystery of all. I thank Him, I beg Him to forgive me of my continued shortcomings, I beg Him to keep refining me so that I may be found worthy of such a great inheritance!

May you all have a most blessed day on Thursday, offering praises and thanksgiving to our Great and Glorious God!
"Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,
by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,
and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

...But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened,
you endured a great conflict of sufferings,


partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated.
For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one.

Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God,
you may receive what was promised.

FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE,
HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY.
BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH;
AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM.

But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction,
but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.
(Hebrews 10:19-25, 32-39) 

November 22, 2010

A Month of Thanksgiving ~ Day Thirty

This post is part of a giveaway hosted by my friend Tamara at Branch of Wisdom .
Please visit her lovely blog to learn more!

Today I am especially mindful of the multiple blessings my entire family has received as the result of the blessing of homeschooling our sons. This afternoon I plan to mail out my oldest son's graduation announcements. It has been an honor, a great honor, bestowed upon me by God, to have been his teacher these years. Though it is not a "finished job" yet (we go through the end of December), that finish line is clearly in sight! We will continue to have lots of things to accomplish together after his graduation from our homeschool high school, but it is a definite marker along the continuum from childhood to adulthood, and we are very excited!

Bryan's story is a really neat one...if you're interested, it's now in e-book form, and it's available for free download by clicking on the picture here, or on the e-books tab at the top of my blog. 
Click on the book to go to the FREE download page
Have a blessed day, and thanks for stopping by!

November 21, 2010

A Month of Thanksgiving ~ Day Twenty-Nine

This post is part of a giveaway hosted by my friend Tamara at Branch of Wisdom .
Please visit her lovely blog to learn more!

This will seem like an "odd" blessing, since it involves the string of cold and flu viruses that have hit our household this fall, but there is a blessing in there!

Bryan came home from the "house raising" yesterday evening (see yesterday's post ~ Day 28) feeling really crummy; we met him at the Olive Garden restaurant, thinking that a nice hot plate of spaghetti would be just the ticket after all that work outside in the cold (we had family in from out of town, and they wanted to go there, so we met up at the restaurant). Bryan was happy to tell us about his day, but he was really tired. By the end of the meal he was flushed, he was resting his head in his hands, and he asked me if I'd drive his car home because he didn't feel well. I put my hand on the back of his neck, and was he ever warm! He'd had a cold the last 2 days, but it's progressed into something a bit worse now, poor thing!

Okay, so here's the blessing part: even though we've had a number of viruses this fall, it's amazing how they've hit...each and every time...on Friday after classes at the college are over, or on Saturday, or after a really special event like this house raising. Each time we get sick, I find myself saying, "well, thank God this isn't Monday or Tuesday!"  The days of missing a few days of school not making any difference are wayyyy over in our home at this stage of the game, so God has been kind to us in this way! So, thank you, Lord, for this blessing! And please place Your Hand of Healing on Bryan this weekend (and of Prevention for me and Nathan).

November 20, 2010

A Month of Thanksgiving ~ Day Twenty-Eight

This post is part of a giveaway hosted by my friend Tamara at Branch of Wisdom .
Please visit her lovely blog to learn more!

I am blessed to have patient mentors and teachers for my sons to work with...good and Godly men who offer their time and their skills to those who will come out and work with them. Today Bryan is participating in a "house raising" (like an Amish barn-raising, but it's a house for a dear young couple we've known for years), and he's learning valuable building skills that he will absolutely need as a farmer! This is an answer to prayer. Thank you, dear Heavenly Father!

"For your Father knows what you need before you ask Him."
(Matthew 6:8)
"And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)

November 19, 2010

Friday FarmGirls @ Heart ~ The Volunteer Responds to TLC!

To join the Fun of Friday FarmGirls@Heart, please include a link to my blog in your post, or grab one of my FFG buttons for your posts and to place in your sidebar!  You can grab code HERE.

If you've been reading FFG for a little while, you'll remember who "The Volunteer" is...a sweet impatiens plant that jumped out of its summertime flowerpot and planted itself, unbeknownst to me, amongst my low-growing junipers. I discovered her only when she put forth vivid magenta-pink blooms after an unusual October warm-spell. (You can click HERE to get all my FFG posts together for a quick and easy read if you feel the urge!)

Anyway, soothing lukewarm watering and some Osmocote fertilizer were just the TLC that my sweet Volunteer needed, and she is responding! I believe I will have lovely flowers in time for Thanksgiving Day!
In addition to this blossom, I count 6 more that haven't turned pink yet...and there are probably more that are still to tiny for me to see. How wonderful of my little friend to grace my home with this warm-weather finery while it's 40 degrees outside!

Don't we all respond to a little comforting water, a good environment in which to put down roots, and food? For me, that water is the refreshment I find as I recognize the blessings He has provided me, my good environment is the Christian home and commmunity of believers which God has so graciously and lovingly placed me in, and...of course...I am nourished by His Word.

As for Thanksgiving, I have ordered my turkey (I'll pick up that big bird on Saturday or Sunday)...frozen to save some $$ on him (fresh was much more), and to make it more affordable to get an organically-raised turkey. So he'll need to thaw for 4 days! I'll pick up the rest of what I need this weekend (have to join the crowds at the store...ugh...but that's what I get for putting it off). We've just had houseguests, which kept me from my usual one-week-in-advance-shopping trip, but it was well worth it!

I don't have big crowds for Thanksgiving dinner anymore.  I used to host all the cousins, so we'd have 14.  Now it's just my parents and dh's mother and us, so a total of 7. Not so hard! It'll be a nice, quiet holiday. Next week I will get an FFG post up, but it will likely just be a photo entry of food and such...I'd love it if you post photos of your dinner table (for those in the USA) and meal offerings!

Plans4You will get a new look very soon...I have my "winter decor" all ready to go right after Thanksgiving, so next Friday you'll see this "mustard, olive, and terra cotta" scheme for the last time this year! We travel north to pick and cut down a Christmas tree each year on Thanksgiving weekend...and that's when this blog will change into its winter clothes! So much fun!

To all my FarmGirl @ Heart friends, have a great Friday, and if we don't meet up again before the holiday, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Here's how to join the fun:
1) Grab an FFG (Friday FarmGirls) Button for your blog and post it in your sidebar so others can join with you. I have 4 styles you can choose from, and you can get code HERE.



2) Write your post and publish it on Friday...be sure to put your FFG Button at the top of your post, and link it to my blog ( http://www.illinoislori.blogspot.com/ ) so your friends will know where to come to join in each week.

3) Add your name and the URL of your post to the "Mister Linky" provided at the end of my post each week.

4) Leave me a comment, and visit the blogs of the other participants listed and leave them comments as well. If you visit and leave comments, you'll be visited and receive comments...it's as simple as that!

A Month of Thanksgiving ~ Day Twenty-Seven

This post is part of a giveaway hosted by my friend Tamara at Branch of Wisdom .
Please visit her lovely blog to learn more!


Today I'm so thankful for dear friends who we met through the divine hand of God in an absolute direct answer to a very specific prayer. Eric, Tamara, and kids...if you're reading this, it's YOU!!! We love and miss you...have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving!

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all..." (Philippians1:3-4)

November 18, 2010

A Month of Thanksgiving ~ Day Twenty-Six

This post is part of a giveaway hosted by my friend Tamara at Branch of Wisdom .
Please visit her lovely blog to learn more!

I am grateful for opportunities to extend the hand of hospitality within the body of Christ, both to dear friends as well as to strangers...I love, love, love the bonds that are instantly shared amongst the brethren! Lord, bless Ed and Sonia and their lovely daughters in their travels, and in their service to You!

Romans 12:10-13
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. (NASB)

"Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality." (The Message)

November 17, 2010

A Month of Thanksgiving ~ Day Twenty-Five

This post is part of a giveaway hosted by my friend Tamara at Branch of Wisdom .
Please visit her lovely blog to learn more!
I thank you and praise you, Lord, for the challenges You have sent to my children, who are now young men. They will have these challenges for life here on this earth, and You have used them in mighty ways to mold and shape their character.
James 1:12
"Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." (NASB)

"Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life." (The Message)

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