Rushing Spring

I was ready. Ready to get my hands and feet in the soft warm dirt. Ready to get my spade, and my worm castings, and my birthday garden gloves, and sprinkle all those tiny, delicate seeds across the soil in my crop garden. I was ready to dig and double dig, ready to plan and prep my new kitchen garden off the back porch. And I was ready to put the young pullets out in the chicken tractor, so they could fertilize and dig up a space for the pumpkin patch. I was so ready. It was only February, but the unusually warm sunny days meant we were hitting the playground in a T-shirt and basking in the sun. It was still winter, but the sun’s rays were already starting to tan my pale dry skin. The sun was good for my mood and the play time was good for my little ones, but I knew in my heart,  I was just rushing spring.

Just as swiftly as the warmth enveloped our homestead, it left again, making the chilly feel chillier and the wind whipping right down to our very bones. Good thing I handn’t started my sweet little seeds or dug a new bed for the sunchokes. I wanted spring badly, but I had to wait it out. You can’t rush spring. Who would have thought that after the sunny reprieve we would see a massive snowstorm at the cusp of spring. Thankfully not the crippling blizzard that was predicted, but just enough to disrupt work and school and business and to give us all a chance to rest and play and drink hot cocoa while we dried our sopping wet mittens.

Isn’t that just like God?

With all of our technology, and our brilliant minds, and years of record keeping of snowfalls and weather patterns, God never fails to surprise. Perhaps he chuckles at us, dancing and twirling in the warm of the sun in the middle of winter, and gets giddy when we are calmed and stilled by a heavy blanket of snow. Isn’t that just like God?

The One who knows we need a reprieve from the bitter cold and the cloudy skies and brings warmth.

The One who knows we need a few days to just stand still and to spend with our little ones because they are growing up way too fast in a world that never slows down.

The One who reminds us that He is God and He is not bound by our brilliant minds and our brilliant works and our brilliant technologies.

Isn’t it just like God, to be the One whose inherent brilliance outshines our greatest everythings?

And isn’t it just like God to remind us to love the season we’re in. To live fully in the now, not lost in the past or pining for the next thing. To tease out all the good and take in all the beauty and reflect on all that He has done for us in this season He has given us.  Isn’t like God to remind me that I won’t enjoy my winter if I’m already rushing spring?

Praise to the One who rules the spring and the winter and warmth and the snow and Who speaks life and love into each and every one of our days.


This is the day that the Lord has made.
    Let us rejoice and be glad today!

Psalm 118:24, NCV

Little blessings, great big grace

IMG_0987It’s easy to forget, isn’t it? Easy to forget just how we have it so good. And it’s hard to remember all the things that we have, and it’s easier to overlook the blessings we didn’t take the time to count up. It’s easy to think about how hard this life is and harder to think about the good this life gives. Because this life is hard and this life is tiring and this life can make you so very very weary and the weight of the world gets heavier each day you and you think you carry it, just you, own your own. And don’t we we cry and complain when things aren’t going straight the way we want them to go, and its heavy and tired and just seems to get worse? And days upon days are ruined, we think, and where on this earth can we find some relief for this hurt and this heavy and this complaint in our hearts that won’t go away?

And then somewhere on our day, we forget how good it is to have fresh clean water every time we turn the handle of the faucet. Some people, some people have no water at all. Some people have water, but it isn’t safe to drink. But we, we have water. What did we do to deserve fresh clean water any time we want it? Nothing, really. We were just born here, where these is fresh clean water for just about anyone, just about anytime. All we have to do is turn it on.

But, we, or was it just me, who forgot to say thanks because I have water, all the water I need?

Sometime this morning, I turned on the light switch to see in my closet at the clothes that I own. I opened my chilly-IMG_0934cold fridge. And fried up a few delicious warm eggs. I turned on the water and let it get hot, and I washed my face and it felt so good to wash off the dirt of sleeping last night. And I must have forgot to be thankful for my lights and my cold fridge and my deliciously fried up eggs and the hot water I used to wash off my face. Until that little text this morning, from a friend a ways away.  “My power is out. And I need to call.” And we don’t realize how much we love our lights until we flip that little switch and those lights don’t go on. And what did we do to live in a place where there is power, so much power, that we only notice it when it’s gone?

Did we forget to say thank you, for lights? And thank you for chilly-cold fridges and thank you for warm, fried up eggs and the hot water to wash off our tired dirty face?

IMG_4025And right there, out that window, some bunnies scatter off into the weeds, and a fox yipping distantly, there – right there, a blue bird perched up high with lazy swings dangling below. And a couple of yellow finches, flitting and bobbing among the dandelion heads, and some too tall grass, and a few toys strewn about, and a robin or two listening hard for their plumpy worms, and that pesky wood pecker who loves all my trees. And right there, out that window, did I look and be thankful for those little blessings I count on so much?

And there, on my porch, some plants in their pots waiting to be snuggled down in the tilled up earth, where the worms get to play and the plants get to grow and give us vegetables, delicious, and filling, and so good for tiny tummies, but did I forget to be thankful for those little plants, just waiting in their pots? And there in the patchy sun, a wise old kitty who dozes away her days.

And I forget to count those tiny little blessings that every day should fill my heart with blessingsoverflowing thankfulness, like great big hugs from tiny tots, and kissing faces dripping with crumbs, and well-fed tummies, and chilly-cold milk, and chickens, so many chickens that give us their eggs, and lovely, loved people reading these words, and leftover pizza from friends that come play, and bananas and coffee, and a place to call home, with a pillow, and a bed, and a sofa, and a Bible to read, and a home that is cozy and plenty warm enough, that keeps out the rain and the snow and the cold, and a van that goes, and see? All these blessings that we just forgot. Real riches are found when our blessings are counted and maybe, just maybe, if I stopped just to count and say thanks for these gifts I’d know just how giving and good our God is.

And today, I will change my life, if just a little bit, and I will change my heart, if ever so slight, and I will give thanks and I will know that we our so blessed and our God is a good, good God.

ISO: New Mercy. Wore out the old one

IMG_1083Some days. There are just some days, some weeks, some months.   You know the ones. Where everything is just hard and even the simple stuff doesn’t come out so easy any more you’re just plain tired of the hardness of it all. When you need a little bit of slack but there isn’t any slack to be had and you thank your lucky stars that you don’t actually believe in karma because you think you must have done something pretty terrible to deserve all of this frustration and all of this hardness and all of this stuff.

And maybe it’s nothing really terrible but lots of little things that add up to one great big thing, like when the cat throws up on your freshly cleaned bed and the crumbs get spilled and stomped and spread in the freshly cleaned carpet. And maybe you step on a Lego and you drop the eggs that were going to be dinner and you’re just too tired to think of something else and now your patience is gone and the kids are in need of quite a bit of it and you just want the day to be done but there’s a long way to go and it’s just hard and you’re just that tired of it all.

And Facebook tells you you’re not good enough and you just don’t have enough andmercies you don’t do enough. You didn’t do the things with your kids or buy them that toy or go to that place that a good parent would and your house isn’t fancy it’s just a home with a roof and the yard isn’t mowed because the mower is old and the garden’s not done and the weeds are growing strong and fast and big where the vegetables should be and you feel like you’re less because you just didn’t and can’t and sometimes, you just won’t. And the worst is the guilt because you snapped at your kids and you snapped over the bills and you just know you’re supposed to be thankful and grateful for this blessed life that you have but none of it feels so blessed in this moment. And you want to crawl in your bed and pull the covers up high but you can’t because of the cat and the throw-up and so you just want to throw in the towel on this day and it’s not even noon and you’re already done.

And it’s ok.

IMG_0926It’s ok if you feel like the mercy ran out and the patience ran out and the peace ran out and the everything else that you’re supposed to do and supposed to be is gone for the moment. It’s just a moment. And you don’t need to feel guilt and you don’t need to feel bad and you don’t need to worry about not being enough. And Facebook is wrong, flat dead wrong because God is enough and His love is enough and everyday there is mercy, new mercy, and it’s all just enough. God’s love is enough and that means you’re enough and you’ve done enough and you will be enough. So just hit the pause for a sec and take one big deep breath and let it all out and remember that mercy, God’s mercy is enough and it never runs out and it’s new every day and you don’t have to fight to get it or have it. He gives it to you with all of His love and that makes you enough for today. He’s enough.

Lamentations 3:22-23 New Living Translation (NLT)

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.

 Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Do you want to be rich?

“Mommy, are we rich?”IMG_0762“Yes, honey, we are.”

“But we’re not REALLY rich, are we? I mean, not REALLY ACTUALLY rich?”

“Actually, we are rich honey, really actually rich.”

The children looked at me, bewildered. The pile of bills that I stuffed in a drawer, the dated paneling on the walls, the broken lawnmower, the nearly dead laptop, and the ugly mauve carpeting on the living room floor disagree wholeheartedly as they beg for my attention and dollars, taunting me, how can we be rich?  How can we be rich when we don’t take annual vacays to Disney or drive new cars or remodel our house or have our yard professionally landscaped or pay for karate or tuba lessons or mani/pedis or shop at the mall? How can we be rich when our budget is small and we have to be creative and inventive and not waste food and not waste clothes and not waste anything at all? How can we be rich?

What a brilliant moment of teaching gratitude, an opportunity to instill thankfulness, to help our small ones understand the gifts that God has given us, to count the blessings we overlook and take for granted each and every day and realize how very, very rich we are. In my county alone, there are over 46,000 who don’t always have enough healthy, nutritious food to eat. 46,000 who sometimes go to bed hungry,  who don’t have all the groceries they need to feed their families and fill their bellies so they can learn and grow and be healthy and strong. My family has a lot of little tummies to fill, but I don’t have to send them to bed hungry. We are rich.

And my church, it collects underwear for the children in the school district because too many little children just don’t have enough, or any, IMG_0754to wear to keep them clean and safe and comfortable at school. And my children have more clothes than can fit in their dresser drawers and stuff in their laundry bins and my laundry is always overflowing and I can’t seem to get it put away because yes, honey, we are rich and we have more than enough.

And my husband and I discuss the bedroom situation, because how can a house with 5 bedrooms not have enough rooms for everyone to sleep and have space and room for all their clothes and their things and a special space for them just to be themselves? And how can such a big family live in a house that is smaller than the average house in the state where we live?  And most of the world lives in just one room, or maybe two, and how can we complain when our bedrooms might be bigger than so many people’s entire house and not because they want a tiny house because all they have and all they afford and all they can muster is just a tiny little house that is as big as just one room? Because, yes, honey, we are rich and this house is big enough.

And maybe we have stacks of bills that need our checkbook’s attention and maybe our budget is tight and that’s not very fun at all and maybe we don’t have every toy or pair of jeans or the newest gadget or the prettiest color carpet but we have a house and a yard and more than enough toys and food that fills our bellies and clothes to keep us clean and comfortable and space for everything and everyone and chickens, and a cat, and we are blessed and yes, we are very, very rich.   And we have enough and more than enough, and often more than we really really want so let’s just pause and say thank you, God, that You have given us so much and made us so very very rich.

And better than clothes and food and toys and space and chickens we are blessed in love and we are blessed in laughter and we are blessed with education and we are blessed with choices and we are blessed with clean air and we are blessed with peace in the hard times and hope in the dark times and lots of children and giggles and joy and best of all we are blessed with Jesus and there is none richer than the one who knows Him as Lord and Savior.

So, honey, we are rich in so very many ways and let’s learn together how we can be thankful for just how rich we are.


10 things you (and I) need to quit doing so we can stop the busy

Oh, yeah. We want to stop the busy. We all want to stop the busy. We have quite the love-hate relationship with the IMG_4025busy. But there’s so much to do to stop the busy, we just don’t know where to start. So here it is – the list – the starter list- of things that you and I need to quit doing so we can stop the busy. Are you ready to stop the busy? Then just stop:

10. Stuff hoarding. Oh, yeah, we need to cut the clutter. And if you have battery powered toys you know exactly how this happens. The most favorite Buzz Lightyear toy needs a new battery immediately before eternal, heart wrenching, small child despair sets in. Of course, since it’s a child’s toy, you have to use a screwdriver to open the battery compartment in order to change the batteries. No big deal, right? Well, the screw driver you keep handy in the house for just such a purpose is not where it’s supposed to be. So you start looking. You dig through the junk drawer, looking for that pesky screwdriver. You find some legos, those are easy to put away. You dig through rubber bands, and old stamps, and I don’t know what the heck that thing is to save my life, and some half-chewed book marks, a stick of gum, and a pile of other things that you’re not really sure what to do with. All you know is that there is no screwdriver to be found. So you pile the stuff back in so that you can spend 20 minutes digging through it the next time you need something, and head to the garage. Same scenario, this time, with bigger stuff. Finally, you find the aforementioned screwdriver in the bottom of a box of really old recycling and head back to the house to open up Buzz’s battery compartment. Oh, it needs C batteries. Where are those pesky C batteries? And the search begins again. What should have been a 5 minute chore took an hour because, well, there was just too much stuff in the way. Stuff wastes time. Cut the clutter. Have less stuff. Have more time. Be ruthless. It will stop the busy.

IMG_06569. Washing stuff twice. This. This is the thing that kills me. You know, when the kids rifle through their drawers, only to wear something for 5 minutes and then throw it in the laundry. Perfectly clean practically unworn clothes tossed haphazardly into the dirty hamper. And then it’s heaped in with sweaty sweatshirts and smelly pants and that comforter that is, for some ridiculous and unknown reason, smeared with an entire jar full of peanut butter and jelly. And so we wash the same clothes again, And again. And again. I suppose less choices would lead to less dirty clothes…. whatever the solution, one must be found because we must stop the busy.

8. Wasting food. Toddlers are the ultimate food wasters. Take a bite, run away from the table. Take a bite, dump the food on the floor. Take a bite, pour water in it. Finally, take a bit off of the floor. Spit it out. Because food on the floor is yucky. Then there are the grownup variety of food wasters, too – how many science experiments are growing in your refrigerator at any given time? I’d say there are about 7 in mine. Why? Because the fridge is stuffed full to the brim and I can’t find what I want so I don’t serve the leftovers that I planned to have for dinner today. Instead, I cook something new, or worse, hit the drive through –  losing time and money and everything else that’s still in the fridge turns green and I’m afraid to look at it so I let it be. That was food?

7. Paying bills late. Because late fees cost us money! See number 6.

6. Wasting money. Because, like it or not, sometimes time is money. If you waste your money, you’ll need to make more money. The more time you have to spend on making more money, the busier you are. But I thought you really wanted to stop the busy?

5. Multi-tasking. When you try to do too many things at once, you don’t do them well. Slow down and just take oneIMG_5692 thing at a time. Because otherwise, I burn the toast, wrinkle the clothes, trip on the cat, spill the coffee, slip on the floor and bruise my pride and my backside, so of course then I forget the errand I was supposed to run, and somehow feel like I am soooo busy and not really getting anything done.

4. Dealing with stuff twice. As soon as you get the mail, throw the junk away. When you get a receipt, ditch or file it, don’t save it for later. Don’t go through the kids backpacks until your ready to do the backpacks. Otherwise, papers just float around the house, get lost, or chewed on by the dog. Or a small child. Wait until you’re ready to manage it all, start to finish. If you use something, put it away. If you spill, clean it up. If you start it, complete it. Then you can have it be finished and forget it, rather than meandering around with it in your brain where other, much more important stuff should be residing. Like stuff that will help you pay your bills on time so you can be less busy.

3. Complaining. Don’t complain! It will make difficult stuff even worse when you ruminate on it. Instead, face it head on, as cheerfully as possible. Wasting time being miserable is just wasting time.

2. Living on Facebook. Facebook is a great tool, but somehow this tool creeps in and starts to run our lives for us. Turn it off. Delete it from your phone. Log out. Do whatever you have to do to keep yourself from constantly checking it. Set aside a few minutes specifically for enjoying Facebook, but only if that’s true – if you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it. Facebook is known to cause depression, and if it’s hurting you in this way, or its sucking up too much of your precious time, just put it away.

1. Checking your phone. How many precious seconds do we waste checking our phones? Some studies say that the average American adult checks their smart phone over 200 times per day. If that only happens during the 16 hours you’re supposed to be awake, that’s about 12 or so times per hour. That’s once every 5 minutes. Your phone is a more frequent interruption than your kids! Turn off the notifications and limit the time you spend checking them. Chances are, you’re doing it out of habit and not because you really need or want to. You’ll feel less scattered and more able to concentrate and you’ll be far more productive by limiting yourself. Better productivity means you’re wasting less time and you’re accomplishing more – which adds up to less busy!IMG_0827 - Copy

Do you really want to stop the busy? Stop doing these things! And stop doing other things that cause us to be busy for no good reason. Just stop the busy.

Which one will you start stopping today?


100 Ways to Have More Joy Today


  1. Get some sun!
  2. Take a brisk walk.
  3. Go for the gabfest.
  4. Be kind to someone else.
  5. Make music.
  6. Preferably with children. Especially your own.
  7. Clean out a cabinet.
  8. Donate clothes you don’t need.
  9. Take dog food to an animal shelter.
  10. Read a book.
  11. Meditate on your favorite Bible verse.
  12. Take dog food to an animal shelter.
  13. Sing a song to God.image
  14. Make a list of blessings. All of them. Hang it up.
  15. Offer to clean house, make meals, or babysit for a new mom.
  16. Bring puzzles to a nursing home. Stay long enough to put one together.
  17. Eat chocolate alone.
  18. Eat kale with a friend.
  19. Take slow, deep breaths and let go of all the tension.
  20. Exercise! Even for 5 minutes.
  21. Create a sacred space in your house – a cozy spot for prayer, Bible reading, or whatever.
  22. Craft.
  23. Sail paper airplanes with kids in the neighborhood.
  24. Take flowers to a lonely widow.
  25. Diffuse frankincense essential oil.12718245_10209123865354261_6862987505419495670_n
  26. Sit by the fire and listen to it crackle, breathe in the scent of smoke, and relax.
  27. Plant flowers.
  28. Set up a bird feeder.
  29. Talk to chickens. Or guinea pigs. Or puppy dogs.
  30. Take a nap!
  31. Drive with the windows down.
  32. Have relay races with your kids.
  33. Handwrite a letter to a friend or family member.
  34. Tell knock knock jokes to elementary students.
  35. Create a dance party for your family.
  36. Paint your nails a crazy color.
  37. Tell God all the things you love about Him.
  38. Tell your spouse all the things you love about them.
  39. Tell your children you’re proud of them.
  40. Learn a yoga pose.
  41. Try something new – art, music, archery – no matter how old you are.IMG_0255
  42. Write a love letter to your significant other.
  43. Write a love letter to God.
  44. Write a love letter to yourself, detailing all the great parts that make up you.
  45. Spend some time reading your Bible, and ask God to speak to you.
  46. Drink a great cup of coffee.
  47. Read some awesome blogs (see the blogroll for ideas).
  48. Send a digital gift card to a friend for no reason.
  49. Buy your groceries at a farmer’s market.
  50. Plan a vegetable garden, or at least a vegetable plant.
  51. Write a song, even if you’re not a musician.
  52. Turn your phone off and enjoy the peace and quiet.12274560_10208341969687358_974294269506600596_n
  53. Research a Bible character or story. Ask God to help you apply it to your life.
  54. Take funny selfies and text them to unsuspecting friends.
  55. Throw your kids a tea party with tea sandwiches and tiny cups of juice.
  56. Watch ridiculous facebook or youtube videos.
  57. Try a new recipe.
  58. Start a blog and write about your favorite things.
  59. Hold a mock photo shoot with your children or pets. Order the prints from Snapfish.
  60. Ride a bike.
  61. Forgive someone who has hurt you.
  62. Forgive yourself.
  63. Pray for people you don’t like. Pray for people who do.
  64. Ask Siri to show you how to beat box.IMG_0166
  65. Sit in silence and listen to God.
  66. Sponsor a child from World Vision.
  67. Mow your neighbor’s lawn.
  68. Make a list of things that make you happy. Pick one and do it.
  69. Set a timer and then clean something.
  70. Buy a box of Joe for the teacher’s at your kids’ school.
  71. Make fried bananas.
  72. Ask God to give you joy.
  73. Scroll up and sign up for the newsletter on this blog.
  74. Plan your dream vacation, even if it’s 5 or 10 years down the road.
  75. Start saving for it. Every penny counts.
  76. Buy pizza for a foster family.
  77. Adopt a dog. Or a gold fish.image
  78. Go to a foster care informational meeting and find out how you can help children in care.
  79. Make a list of things that bring you joy. Do at least one a day.
  80. Set up your living room like a movie theater. Eat popcorn and watch a favorite movies.
  81. Find a Bible reading plan at Then use it.
  82. Look for God’s hand in nature.
  83. Look for God’s hand in your life.
  84. Do someone else’s chores without them knowing.
  85. Make your kids beds while they are at school.
  86. Sneak little notes into your loved ones’ lunch boxes.
  87. Sell something and use the money to help someone else.10402817_10209321482294561_5875413210361805778_n
  88. Eat a nutritious breakfast – even if it’s dinner time.
  89. Make fresh salsa.
  90. Eat off of the good china.
  91. Daydream.
  92. Plan your garden.
  93. Doodle.
  94. Facetime someone.
  95. Listen to the bird’s sing.
  96. Ask your family questions about their likes and dislikes.
  97. Start a new hobby.
  98. Go outside and gaze at the stars after dark.
  99. Plant a tree.
  100. Share this blog post!

I’ll come to you.

“I know right where you are and I’ll come to you,” echoed my new 1147603_10201900890624407_1866935575_ohusband in my ear. The tow truck driver hollered these words to him to pass on to me. I was stranded on the side of the highway, barely out of the path of cars whizzing by in their rush to get home.

It was frigid and my car was dead. Not even a click when I turned the key. It was so dark no one could  see that I was inside the smokey blue Dodge Colt, stranded and alone. I locked my doors and huddled under an old blanket, shivering in the 10 degree weather. The car shook from the passing traffic and I couldn’t see who might be out there in the darkness. Not a soul, not one, stopped to help. Maybe that was better, safer. I climbed into the passenger side, furthest from the wildness of the traffic, praising God for 1 thing – my very first cell phone, purchased the day before, at the insistence of my groom. The phone I didn’t really want.

557048_4218347977465_104829219_nHe’s coming to me, echoed in my head.  He must have broken the laws of man and nature to get to me so quickly, because the tow truck driver, who I had seen only a few times before in my small town, arrived within a half an hour. He saw me shaking, and with compassion in his eyes helped me into the cab of his truck. “I said I’d be here; let’s get you warm.” And he cranked up the heat and loaded my little car onto his big truck.

He knew right where I was, and he came to me. Yes, the tow truck driver.

Yes, Jesus. Jesus knew right where I was, and He came to me.

I find so much comfort in that statement – he knew right where I was. It5311_10200880558236735_1400010509_n was going to be ok.  Nothing would stop him from getting me home safely. He meets us right where we are. Just like the woman at the well (John 4). Just like Mary and Martha (Luke:10-38-42) Just like Lazarus (John 11:43). And just like the women bewildered by the empty tomb (Matthew 28). He came to us, each one of us, right where we are. He didn’t wait until we knew the answer, or had it all together. Jesus knows us right where are – in the cold, in the dark, afraid, alone, He knows. He knows when we are alone in a car or a tomb or even near the tomb; when we are dying or living, working or not working, Jesus knows just where we are and He comes to us to warm us with His love.

23924_1385760284543_4829787_nDo you remember how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead? It’s such a well-known Bible story that we don’t think about it too deeply, do we? But Lazarus was dead. And Jesus came to him, and met his greatest need.

Then there were the women near the empty tomb. Jesus, Savior, Messiah, King, the Word, God, defeated sin and death in this most incredible amazing victory – the event that changed the entire course of the world forever and ever – He could have gone anywhere, or done anything. But He met those women in their greatest need, right where they were. He met them by His tomb. What a stark picture of the life giving Jesus meeting us in our places of death and despair, offering us hope, resurrection, life.

There is never a place where we are too far for Jesus to come us, no place too dark, or cold, or alone. There is no death that can prevent Him from coming to us. There is nothing that will stand in Jesu11990476_10207840579712922_8025513724316635598_ns’ way. He knows where you are and He is coming to you.

This week, this Holy Week, where we remember Jesus’ suffering, and His death, and His ultimate resurrection, we remember how Jesus gave everything because He knew right where we would be. He wasn’t afraid to join us in the cold, in the dark, in the fear, or in the pain, or even in death. Jesus knows right where we are because He’s been where we are. And He is coming to us.

Top 10 Reasons to turn your home into a homestead

At the mention of a homestead, I always pictured Laura Ingalls Wilder running free through the idyllic fields in the tv show, Little House on the Prairie. Are you with me? That tiny cottage where the girls are snuggled together in one bed, the naughty cows that got loose through the fence, the frightening barn fire, the endearing Papa mending the fences and the occasional broken heart of a small child. I totally wanted to live there. Be her. Learn to write on a chalkboard slate. Have a pet chicken.


I don’t know if that beloved show was an accurate depiction of the time period or not, but it did point to the difficulties and struggles of homesteading. Having a homestead was risky business, for sure, overflowing with danger, hunger, and hard work. Modern homesteading is really nothing like that (well, it’s still hard work, I suppose). Oh sure, if you REALLY wanted, you could buy a plot of land and live off-the-grid in your vegetable oil powered camper. Oh, come on, why not? Well, maybe because I like health care, and hot showers, and, air conditioning, and gulp, the Internet. But that’s no reason not to have a modern homestead of your own. In fact, here are my Top 10 reasons that we want to turn our home into a little modern homestead.

10.Food. I like food. Ok, I really really really like food. I mean, I like a lot of food. And what I really like is good, healthy, really fresh food with no additives, no fillers, and no chemicals or pesticides. When you grow it, you get to know what you put on it, in it, and around it, and how long it’s been there. As a closet control freak, I resonate with that. And with food.


9. Homesteading tastes good. Really, it does (and we already established just how much I like food). There is nothing like the taste of a warm fresh tomato straight out of the garden (they’re so good, my favorite five year old eats them like apples). Or an egg you gathered from the coop that morning. And those strawberries that you’ve been watching ripen for days? Freaking amazing, especially when they are still warm from the summer sun. You will be amazed by how good homesteading tastes.

8. Chickens. Do you know how much I love chickens? Me, the worship leading, hair styling, preaching, seminary graduate, bookworm, coffee junkie who doesn’t leave the house without makeup totally loves chickens. If you have a ‘homestead’ you get to have chickens (well, OK, depending on the laws in your neighborhood, anyway).  Chickens rock, but that’s fodder for another post.


7. Fresher air. No matter where you live, plants clean up the air and give you nice fresh oxygen to breathe (You do remember science class, right?).  Urban homesteaders actually improve the air quality in the city. The more plants, the more oxygen. Grow them in your house. Grow them outside of your house. Grow them inside, outside, up sidedown… right side up, around and around and all year round. Your lungs will love you for it.

6. Grass is so yesterday. Vegetables are much trendier. They look nice, taste great, and you don’t even have to mow them (and if you use the right techniques, weeding is pretty minimal, too). (But I digress, because it’s all about the food).


5. You’ll save money on that really fancy gym membership. If you’re homesteading, you’ll get plenty of exercise from weeding, raking, carrying, building, stacking, plucking, harvesting, and whatever other kind of activity you employ to build and upkeep your homestead. Muscles are cool. But muscles you earned from physical labor? Much cooler (and cheaper) than the kind you get at the gym.

4. You can homestead right where you are. Homesteading doesn’t have to mean off the grid living… You can grow a small garden patch or an acre or twenty. Raise chickens and goats, or not. Whatever your space, whatever your situation, you can implement homesteading techniques that positively affect your food, your family, your finances, or even your fun. You can try canning and herb growing right in your apartment kitchen. Or turn  your yard into a gorgeous garden. Homesteading is about making the most of what you have.


3. It’s great for the kids. They’ll learn the value of hard work, and the reward! They’ll eat healthier food. They’ll learn how to care for animals. They’ll get fresh air. (And they’ll get tired, too!) They’ll learn science, biology, math, nutrition, exercise, and a gazillion other things like self-suffiency. They’ll have a blast checking on a ripening pumpkin or seeking out cucumbers hidden beneath their leafy vines. They’ll learn the joys of chasing chickens and playing in the mud…. Oh, the mud… I guess they’ll learn about taking baths, too.

2. Money. You can save money homesteading. You can even make money homesteading. Because homesteaders aren’t the only ones that love farm fresh food – you might make a few extra dollars selling off your extra eggs, earn a little dough by selling your goods at a farmer’s market as a part time job, or even homestead full time and make it your living. Or maybe, like most of us, you’ll just save a few bucks on your grocery bill and be happy with that.

5 tomato plants served my rather large family with more than enough tomatoes to make a summer’s worth of spaghetti, salsa, salads, and more. We figured out that the amount of money we saved by eating our own tomatoes, rather than store bought, more than covered the cost of the garden fence, tiller rental, and seeds and plants for the rest of the garden. Did I mention that I love to save money almost as much as I love food? (Yeah, I know, it’s still about the food, isn’t it?).


1. Homesteading brings joy.  There is something amazing about planting a seed, and with a little water, and some good dirt and sunshine, it grows, thrives, and provides food. Every little plant is a little miracle from God. Every egg a gift, every tomato, every zucchini, or squash, or onion, is a reflection of the nurture and care that God has for each one of us. Every connection to our food gives us a sense of well-being and well, gratitude. Each baby chick is a little  glimpse of God’s tender mercy. Every ray of sun, His warmth, His love. Growing, nurturing, tending, sharing – these things feel so good and are so fulfilling that you can’t help but let a little joy sneak in even on those hard and tired days. Perhaps it’s inexplicable, but somehow, someway, homesteading brings joy…


Ok, food.

Homesteading brings food. I’m really about the food.





Baby steps towards joy.

I might have a bone to pick with Thanksgiving.

I mean, I love a sleep-inducing, kitchen-trashing, dirty-every-pot-in-the-house, gain-five-pounds-in-one-day, deliciously decadent traditional Thanksgiving dinner just as much as the next person. Even when it means scrubbing mashed potatos off the radiator (courtesy of the 1 year old), sweet potatos off the fish tank (courtesy of the 3 year old with a really good arm), and fishing pie crumbs out from under the stove (that wouldn’t be my fault would it?). It’s like the ultimate in comfort food feasting shared with family and friends. And I’m not even sure I mind the added expenditures – a turkey dinner with all the trimmings adds up fast, especially for a family of 8 plus relatives. (My grocery budget is bleeding out, but that’s ok, the leftovers will sustain us for quite some time).

Thanksgiving is a great day to celebrate being together and being thankful for all that God has given us. Except that I think spending 1 day being thankful for 1 giant feast kind of defeats the purpose. Spending 1 day proclaiming our gratitude for our families, friends, jobs, food, warm homes, sports teams, toys, tech, and pets is just the tip of the iceberg. Hmm, maybe more like the size of an icecube. It just doesn’t cut the cranberry sauce, er, mustard.

Joy is born out of gratitude. Not just a one time, once a year spirit of thankfulness. Not just a once a day blessing on the dinner meal. But a life lived in constant gratittude to the Giver of all good gifts.  I can’t help but wonder if, when I’m unhappy, its because I’m not being grateful? Today, I caught myself getting cranky because – just when I wanted to show the tiny humans a video on letters and the sounds they make  – the computer decided to install 36 updates. 36! Tiny humans can’t wait that long. And apparently, grown up humans aren’t so good for 36 updates, either.  But then I realized what a ‘first world’ problem that is. I’m feeling a little bit entitled here – to a clean, warm home, with lots of food, cars that go, tech constantly at my finger tips, while some people are struggling to find a meal or to live in a home with heat and electricity. I am so routinely blessed by what we consider to be basic necessities that I fail to appreciate them.

Last night, I lay in bed, listening to the quiet crackle of the fire slowly dying in the wood stove and the gentle hum of the baby monitor reminding me that my children were cozied up peacefully in their quilts. A kitty purring happily at my feet. A house-full of filled up tummies, snuggled up and warm, resting sweetly.  The struggles of the day fading into the shadows of the night, as I try to pass them on to our God who never slumbers or sleeps.

This, I thought, is the real thanksgiving. It is beginning of contentment, the genesis of gratitude. Baby steps towards joy.