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Friday, December 30, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls for Lunch?

A longtime girlfriend of mine came to Four Sisters Farm for lunch today.  (She is in the pic below with her two precious children.) I have missed her SO much and am grateful for her visit.  We got acquainted when our families attended the same church years ago.  She is precious and loves the Lord with all her heart, all her mind, and with all her soul...and she loves the people around her the same way.

One of my favorite things that happened several times when we were together with others who didn't know us well...someone would ask if she and I are sisters and I was quick to reply "Yes!  We have the same Father!"  Of course, then I explained that I meant God our heavenly Father.  It blesses me to know that people see something similar in us because I think she is so awesome!!

I was pleased to give her the "nickel tour" of the house because she had only been here once not long after we bought the farm; then we settled into our basement (I mean "lower level") to gab and I felt like I was talking a hundred miles an hour to try to catch up.

I had made some homemade rolls in honor of her visit and decided to make part of the dough into cinnamon rolls.  I jokingly said that we could eat cinnamon rolls for lunch and skip the food that was good for us...she thought that sounded like a great idea...and we did...because we could.  Ha!

Mmmmmmm.  "Sister", you can come for lunch anytime!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Buyer's Remorse

Over the holiday, I went to the local variety store of my hometown with my mom, sister, and sis-in-law.  Our mission was to pick out fabric for a quilt for Mom to make my sis-in-law; but of course, we had to look at other things as well and we stumbled onto this wall hanging and thought it was cute and clever and would work perfectly in the future Four Sisters Farm kitchen...I was a bit smitten and I purchased it (along with a "God Bless Cowboys" plaque that will someday hang in the bunk room).

I decided to place it in Pop's Christmas stocking hanging at the mantle of my folk's house as sort of a silly joke.  Well...the way things worked out, Pop and I didn't get to stay long enough for the festivities of the evening as we had to make the several hour drive back home that night.  So I loaded up the contents of our stockings into a bag and we headed on home.  As we drove and I pondered the time we had just spent with family, I also pondered the sign and realized that I just couldn't do it...Pop DOES rule the roost but not in a bad way and I definitely do NOT rule the rooster at Four Sisters Farm.  It would be like advertising a lie if I hung up this cutesy little sign in our home.

Some folks would think it is just a joke...no big deal...but I believe otherwise.  Scripture says, "Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is one who deceives their neighbor and says, 'I was only joking!'" (Proverbs 26:18-19).  One of the things I told the four sisters as they were growing up is that joking always has roots in what a person really believes.  I have found this to be true over and over.  Sarcasm (sometimes we call it joking) is rampant in our lives these days.  We hear it all around us...we see it on television in sitcoms and we refer to someone as "witty" when they have mastered the art of hurting someone in a way that makes others laugh.

I looked up the definition of sarcasm and it means "a sharply ironical taunt; sneering or cutting remark" so I also looked up irony which means "the use of words to convey a meaning that is opposite of its literal meaning".  Hmmm...so if we say things that mean the opposite, isn't that the same as lying?  I think so.

I will pass on cute and clever and tell you what I really believe about Pop...he is THE man here at Four Sisters Farm.  He takes his responsibilities to care for me and our family very seriously.  I very happily accept my place under his leadership knowing that he has my best interest at heart.  He understands that his role as a leader brings responsibility and accountability with God and his desire is please God.  I know he isn't perfect and I know he will make mistakes (me too); even so, I choose to follow him.

Maybe I can find a cute, clever sign with a rooster that says something like, "He rules the roost, and I love the rooster!"  That would be closer to the truth.  There is plenty to laugh about at Four Sisters Farm without making fun of anyone.  It is a safe place to be.  It's one of the things I love about Four Sisters Farm.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Twas a While 'til Christmas

Twas a while ’til Christmas, at Four Sisters Farm.
The house was a wreck, but we’d meant it no harm.
There wasn’t a mantle to hang stockings upon.
Oh dear!  What to do?  It all seemed so wrong!

The walls were all finished with sheet rock and mud.
They were primed, even painted, we’d hidden the studs.
We’d worked long and hard but some things went amiss.
Pop’s shoulder was injured and would require a fix.

But Pop is so tough; that the surgery would wait
while he worked through the pain and made the walls straight.
He worked on the wiring, the framing, the floor;
he worked ‘til the doctor said, “No way! No more!”

The year had been busy with our grown up offspring
buying houses, and moving, and fixing their things.
They had helped us so much; gave the time they could spare.
“God bless them. We’re grateful.” was often our prayer.

We had put down lush sod for our lawn in the spring
then summer was hot, and no rain did it bring.
The garden, though watered, just would not produce
how long could the farm withstand such abuse?

It wasn’t all bad.  We did have some fun
like a trip to Gettysburg, then down to Charleston.
The time at the beach was so pleasant and warm
and hiking at Yellowstone took us out of our norm.

Pop’s shoulder’s still healing, the house still in progress;
we’ll keep moving forward, ignoring the mess.
The days go so quickly, like reindeer they fly
so we do what we can as each day goes by.

We decided against putting up Christmas lights.
“There’s no place to put up a tree”, Grammy sighed.
So we hung up the stockings at DW’s and Doc’s
and gathered up our family which always rocks!

We’ve been working for years to simplify this season;
less gifts and less fuss and more Jesus as the reason.
We got together early with a family mission
to share Christ at Christmas has become a tradition.

We still dress in PJs as matching can be
from the smallest to tallest and gather near the tree.
The children listen quietly while Pop reads the story
of Mary and Joseph and Jesus in His glory.

The young ones play while their moms stuff the stockings
with candy and toys and other small gift things.
They help roll out dough, then spread on some butter,
then sprinkle on sugar and make quite the clutter!

The sweet smell of cinnamon rolls lingers in the air
while the stockings are emptied and candy is shared.
We laugh, we love and retell some old tales
then we make some new memories without fail.

We review the year past with a special edition
made by the Superheroes which is their tradition.
They will add a new baby to their precious brood
an awesome and wonderful little super dude!

A baby girl is soon due to Romeo and Pretty Princess
They'll be the “Royal Family” then - that is our consensus!
The Farmhands, now city folk, due to their move
are adding a sweet baby girl to their crew.

Next year, Lord willing, we will gather once more
with three babies coming, no one will be bored.
Four Sisters Farm is where we hope we will be
with some lights, decorations, and of course, a tree.

So we all send our love from our homes to you
as you celebrate Christmas with your own loving crew.
May the coming New Year be cheery and bright.
Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Friday, December 16, 2011

What's in a Name? Paint Colors...

 The time finally came to paint our main floor walls...we had survived the painful and messy process of tearing out yucky old paneling, moving a few walls, and the list goes on and on...frankly, I don't have the energy to type everything we have done...so, let's focus on the subject at hand.

When it was time to choose a color for the "lower level" (aka basement), I knew I wanted something neutral and warm...something that would serve as a sort of blank canvas to decorate and redecorate as I choose.  As we painted the basement, Pop kept questioning me (and everyone who helped paint) about the color...he thought it was too dark.  It did look dark against the stark white of the primed dry wall but everyone agreed it was a fine color.  Success!

So when it was time to choose a color for the main floor I wanted to stick with what we had in the lower level but Pop questioned me about that...so...I began to look and look and look at colors.  There are so many paint colors with so many different names that it is an overwhelming task.  As I looked, my goal was ultimately the same...something neutral and warm.  I found myself attracted to the same color family again and again.  The "coffee with cream" colors with yummy names like "Mocha";  the "beach" colors with calming names like "Mesa Sand", the "nature" colors like "Tender Twig", and of course the "food names" like "Caramelized Onion".

I shopped all these colors and after puzzling over them all, I found one called "Warm Welcome".  Perfect.  Funny though, it is the twin of the color we already had.  So I took my basement paint chip to the paint counter and asked the nice man to match the color of my basement paint and mix up 15 gallons of it.

Pop and I painted and he kept questioning me about the color because he thought it was darker than what we had in the basement.  It did look dark against the stark white of the primed dry wall.  (Are you seeing a trend here?) :-) I assured him it was the same color and now we are finished and love it.  It is indeed a "Warm Welcome" color and we hope that is what folks feel when they come to visit.


Now, onto doors, floors, trim, cabinets, appliances, etc.  Oh...and Merry Christmas in the midst of it all!

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Birthday Post and Link

DW's birthday is today and I can't wait to hear all about how she celebrated it.  
For now, check out her blog post at The Unconventional Doctor's Wife.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DW!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Adding More Christmas Stockings

New Christmas Stockings for 2011
The Four Sisters Farm homestead is, of course, not ready for family gatherings on the main level just yet so The Unconventionals will graciously host our family Christmas gathering once again.  The Unconventional Doctor's Wife (DW for short) was busy decking her halls as she does each year and she sent me a text message with a picture - both the picture and the message came across loud and clear - we were missing three stockings!!

So I pulled out my Christmas stocking sewing supplies (yes, I am prepared for MORE grandbabies at all times) and made the stockings for the babies who will be joining our family early in 2012.  (Of course, the stockings have "real" names on the other side.) Life is precious and celebrated in the Four Sisters Farm family...even before birth...so we will fill these new stockings at Christmas in anticipation of their arrival.

First, Pretty Princess and Romeo will welcome a baby girl into the "Royal Family", then the Superheroes will induct another baby boy superhero, and last but certainly not least, The Farmhands (at The Growing Table) will be blessed with all the frills that come with a baby girl to add to their family of rough and tumble boys.

2012 promises to be an incredibly exciting and blessed time and the whole Four Sisters Farm family is grateful to God for His rich blessings.  It's good stuff (contented sigh, and big smile from Grammy).

Monday, November 28, 2011

Love is a Sacred Trust

Oh a whim, Pop and I called the Superheroes after we had enjoyed dinner out last night.  We were not in need of any superhero feats; we just missed them and were not too far away.  We had heard they were going to see Arthur's Christmas earlier in the day and hoped to hear what the "critics" had to say about it.  So we called.  They were home...but not alone...Romeo and Pretty Princess had come for dinner. BONUS!  We got two of the four sisters in one "drive by visit."  But that is not what this post is about.

When we arrived, the superheroes greeted us warmly as did Pretty Princess and Romeo.  Then something amazing happened.  Something that possibly only I caught.  As I scooped up the Supergirl and talked to her, our eyes locked...not just for a second or two...but for a while.  This little, tiny (not yet two years old) girl...sweet, sassy, adorable little girl looked deep into my soul as I gazed upon hers through the windows we call eyes.  In just a minute or maybe a little more, we saw each other...completely...and loved each other.

This phenomenon has happened at some precious point in time with each of our children and grandchildren when they were small and it takes my breath away each time.  With each child, it is new and different, yet old and familiar, warm and comforting, just as it should be.

I awoke in the wee hours this morning thinking about it and realize that the love I have for my family, my friends, my fellow human beings is a sacred trust...just as my precious little granddaughter completely trusts me and trusts in my love...I am obligated...by my love...the love given to me by our Heavenly Father that is true and good and perfect...to give my best.  Not out of guilt.  Not because I should.  Not because of any outward manipulation. Simply because I love.

I remember the very first time I felt this kind of love for Pop. I was in the fifth grade and he was in the sixth. I had seen him before and knew who he was but one day as I met him on the stairs at school (for some reason it was just the two of us – we must have been running errands for our teachers), I saw him for the first time as someone I loved. I awkwardly said, “Hi” and he nodded. I was deeply impacted. I can still see the sunlight streaming in the window highlighting his blond hair, blue eyes, and strong shape. We didn't date until high school but God firmly planted something in my heart that day I didn't quite understand. I didn't chase after him or stake any claims; but I was filled with a sense of assurance in the way I felt about this handsome boy.

Before I give anyone the impression that I have some kind of super power on my own to love, let me just say that "We love  because He first loved us." (I John 4:19) God IS love and love originates with Him.  I am grateful for that love and grateful that He chooses to love others through us.  God's Word says it best...I John 4:7-12 says, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us."

I am so grateful to God for His love and so grateful for the ways and the times that love is visible in my life.  It is a free gift and there is a reader happening upon this post who hasn't experienced it, you are not reading by accident...God set it up...He orchestrated it...He chose to use me to convey to you right now that He loves you.  Just say "Yes" to Him.  You will never be sorry.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Renovation Progress - Part ... Aww, Who's Counting Anyway?

Well...we have lived through tearing off the old paneling, adjusting things that needed adjusting/fixing, drywall, priming, and painting the ceiling. We will have miles to go but at least we won't be heating all 40 acres of Four Sisters Farm through the winter and while Pop's shoulder is healing.  We are celebrating the milestones and this certainly marks one!  Celebrate with us and stay tuned for updates over these cold winter days that will be perfect for painting, flooring, and trimming.  Here are a few pics...
 Dining Room - New Patio Door
 Kitchen Window to Backyard
Kitchen with "Pass Through" to Living Room

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Baby Bumps

Today we celebrated Pretty Princess and Romeo's sweet baby girl.  The little princess is due in January and we are all over the moon in love with her already.

We had so much fun planning and putting on this baby shower.  What an exciting time!  You should have seen all the pink.  It was like an ocean of pink!

We love you baby girl!

So...if you remember.  There are three pregnant sisters.  Rock Star is due in February with a baby boy and I (Farm Chick) am due in April.  We don't know yet if it is a boy or girl.

The only UNpregnant sister is DW.  She is perfectly happy to not be with child.  Here is the picture to prove it!
Here is the banter on facebook between the sisters in regards to this photo...

Rock Star: HAHA! The joke is on DW though because we all plan for her to babysit...a lot.
DW: Bring. It. On. The joke is back on you because I can send them home and sleep through the night! LOL
Rock Star:  I meant OVER-Night babysitting...Hee Hee.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Who Knew Dry Wall Could be so exciting? We did!!

Drywall Stacked Up - Ceiling Installation Completed!!

Progress!! 

"Bunk Room" Installation Almost Done!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pre-Sheet Rock To Do List - DONE

When Pop learned he had to have surgery he created a "Pre-Surgery To Do List" and nailed it (yes, nailed it with a big dog nail) to the wall.  I had him remove it now that the list has been completed and dry wall is imminent.  You can't really see it in the picture, but he has a sling on his arm since he is post-surgery.  Hooray for moving on down the road and for checking things off the list!!  Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Monday, October 31, 2011

No Use Crying Over Spilled Milk...or Coffee

I try hard to take good care of Pop all the time; but with his shoulder surgery, I've tried extra hard to be helpful and get what he needs.  Simple things like brushing your teeth are not to be taken for granted!  I've cut up sandwiches into bite sizes and prepared foods at temperatures that wouldn't burn his mouth.

I recently set him up with some coffee - of course in a thermos-type mug with a screw on lid.  He picked it up and took a sip and I watched wide-eyed as liquid dripped onto his shirt and noticed that the lid was askew.  I grabbed it and quickly fixed it as Pop began to laugh...hard.  Me too.  I felt really silly and it felt good to laugh.

I hope we maintain a sense of humor about things that will most certainly come as we get older.  Good thing the coffee wasn't crazy hot.  No use crying over spilled coffee.  I love Pop.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vows

I caught a glimpse of light reflecting off my wedding ring in the wee hours of the night.

I had been up giving Pop some medication following his recent shoulder surgery.  He has been a great "patient" but the pain associated with this type of surgery is notoriously excruciating and we had been diligent to stay on top of the pain which means round the clock medications and the patient sleeping in a recliner.

I was settling back into my blankets on the sofa beside the recliner and a small ray of light from the night light found a way into the diamond in my ring, refracting a brief but brilliant light.  As I snuggled in, I pondered the day Pop and I were married more than thirty-five years ago and about the vows we took that day.  When I spoke the vows to Pop I did so unreservedly..."for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health, so long as we both shall live"...of course at a tender young age at the beginning of marriage, the understanding of what those vows truly mean is severely limited...I just knew that I meant what I said with all my heart, all my mind, and all my being.

Pop and I have been tested so much less than many couples and while we have no idea what the future will bring; the vows still stand.  They are unconditional. Whatever comes, with God's grace and the help that only He can provide, we will figure it out.  We don't have to do it alone and for that I am eternally grateful.

Friday, October 21, 2011

X Does Not Necessarily Mark The Spot!

Jewels and I were on a mission...Stop the ridiculous squeak in the floor of the master bedroom.

So we got out the screws Pop had purchased for this purpose and got started.  We used math, we measured, we used deductive reasoning, we popped a chalk line, we used a drill.  We even used the knowledge that in the room below (before it was finished) there was a neat row of nails that were intended to hit a floor joist but missed.  We thought it would be a simple job that wouldn't take much time.  After all, this task was on my "productive procrastination" list.

So we began.  After screwing in a number of screws that seemed to help only slightly we employed the use of another tool.  A long piece of copper wire.  We removed screws and inserted the wire into the holes...if the wire hit wood we circled the hole...if it didn't, we marked it with an "X".

It might not have been the most scientific approach but we eventually identified the line where the screws SHOULD go.  Now we have some extra holes in the sub floor now but they won't hurt anything...as far as we know, anyway.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pre-Surgery To Do List

As you know, Pop is facing shoulder surgery.  He is one tough guy.  I am convinced that a lesser man would have already undergone the procedure but Pop (with his surgeon's permission) is doggedly completing the tasks on his "Pre-Surgery To Do List".  He is nearly there.  We have been blessed with family and friends who have chipped in to help.

When we began the main floor renovation, we could not have dreamed that the pace we were planning would have to be accelerated due to injury.  We were thinking that we would just chip away at it.  We planned to still "have a life" while we were rebuilding...after all, we have our living space in the basement that is comfortable and don't have to live in the sawdust.  When Pop learned he was facing surgery we knew we had to at least put things together enough that we wouldn't be heating all our acreage this winter with propane.  Because of the progress we had already made in tearing things down, we really had no wise choice but to "button things" up with insulation and sheetrock...so that is the goal.  If we had had it our way, we would have taken our time and done most of the work on our own.  Instead, God chose another way to rebuild our house and with His grace we are almost to get it done with the help of our precious family and friends.  We are blessed and we are grateful!  The Lord is indeed building the house and we give Him the glory.  Our prayer is that it will be used to honor God and be a blessing to all who come here.

Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Productive Procrastination

Old Insulation - after messing with it to get to things above it.
 I totally dislike doing insulation.  It is yucky.  A mask is required which makes it hard to breathe and sometimes fogs up my glasses.  Little particles of spun fiberglass and 35 years of dust fly freely and in our case, there are more things flying.  I have chosen not to take pictures of the gross stuff.  Some things are just better forgotten.

You see, in our "attic" space there was apparently a condo village for mud daubers as well as a large "herd" of mice at some point in the life of this house.  We know this because as we have moved insulation to do wiring and to fix things "up there", we have been inundated with evidence...you know what I'm talking about...mouse droppings...but that is not the worst.  We have even had mouse skeletons drop out of the insulation.  Once I even accidentally picked one up thinking it was just a piece of insulation.  I'm not overly squeamish but I almost threw it into the next room!

Newly Insulated Ceiling
So when insulating is the task at hand, I tend to procrastinate.  My friend Jewels was working with me recently and saw evidence of this.  When she tried to steer me back to the task (several times) I kept finding something else we needed to do BEFORE we got started on the insulation.  You know...start the laundry, clean the mud room up after Pop and I had slung sawdust all over it installing a new back door...things like that...they HAD to be done!  Even cleaning toilets sounds like a  preferred chore.  So even when I am procrastinating, it is productive.  Do you get me?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Jewels

This is my friend.  I call her "Jewels" because that is what she has been adding to her crown lately...she has been a constant at Four Sisters Farm.  She can manage power tools, staple guns, hand tools of all sorts, water hoses...you name it.  She was raised on a farm and loves the farm life which is fortunate for me and for Pop!  


She also recently celebrated her birthday here which I felt pretty bad about!  We worked all day and evening that day.  We did have a delicious dinner and some angel food cake to celebrate.  She claims it was a good birthday but I think I was the one who got the gift! 


Thanks, Jewels!!



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Okay, Lord! Show us how You build a house. We're willing!

This is Pop...he is many things...passionate...playful...powerful.  I love him so much that sometimes it is nearly painful!  If you know him well, you know that his passion extends to his family, his friends, his coworkers, and oftentimes even to some fortunate soul who simply crosses his path.  He cheers for the underdog and encourages others to succeed.

Pop is facing a challenge right now that is really testing him.  He has injured his right shoulder...seriously...he has seen a surgeon and faces surgery soon.  The recovery will be long and difficult.   I know he can handle it and will overcome.  I've seen him ignore pain and carry on.  I've watched him train for and run a marathon (among other races).  I've watched him power through injuries to accomplish tasks that weaker men would have surrendered to.  But this time, he must submit to the repair or suffer further debilitating damage.  The repairs should be effective and Pop should soon be able to do all the things he has always done.

If you have been following this blog, you know that we are in the process of renovating the main floor of the Four Sisters Farm house.  It isn't a good time for Pop to be injured.  There is still much to be done before we can call in the drywaller.  There are walls to be moved, wires to be run, a tub and a shower to be put in place, doors to be installed, and the list goes on.  Pop continues to work, with pain.  We knew the renovation would be a time-consuming challenge; but we didn't plan for Pop's injury.  It is intensely frustrating for him.

Our precious sons (acquired through marriage to the Four Sisters) have all stepped in to help when they can.  Their schedules are full, responsibilities heavy, and they take their commitments seriously.  Pop and I know that it is a sacrifice for all of them to offer their time and abilities.  We are simply grateful.  Oh, so grateful...for them and for the friends who have helped off and on since we started "building" Four Sisters Farm.

In a recent post I stated my desire to allow the LORD to build our house.  Since we took on the renovation, Pop has often looked at me and asked, "Can we do this or did we bite off more than we can chew?"  My response is that we CAN do it...like eating an elephant...one bite at a time...Lord willing.  I am watching to see God's hand in our lives...and specifically in the building of this house.

Stay tuned.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is my dad's birthday.  He is an incredible man with much to show for his years...a loving and beautiful wife, five children, twelve grandchildren, sixteen great-grandchildren and several more on the way right now.  He and Mom have established a home for themselves and their continually growing family in their small rural Kansas town.  They have tons of extended family and they continue the heritage begun by Dad's parents...they actually live in the home my grandparents lived in and where most of Dad's upbringing happened.

Yesterday, a friend of mine posted a beautiful note on facebook entitled, "My Dad's Face."  While it made me cry, it also made me count my blessings.  The love expressed by her father echoed deep in my soul as I am grateful for those same expressions by my dad.  


Some years ago, I gave Dad a gift of monthly letters for Father's Day; and of course, there is a special one to be written each June on Father's Day and each September for his birthday.


As I wrote his letter this morning, tears trickled down my face and placed a wet pattern of dots on my pink tee shirt.  I was glad I was alone and could write (and cry) with abandon.

I have loved having a monthly opportunity to tell my Dad how much he means to me and I want to share part of what I wrote to him with the readers of the Four Sisters Farm blog...

I am so grateful to have you…so grateful to be able to send you a letter today to say, “Happy Birthday!”…so grateful to have watched your face all these years to see the love and concern you have expressed to your family…so grateful for each smile and wink…so grateful for the contentment in just being alive…so grateful for the times I have seen you surprised and pleased…so grateful for the delight I’ve seen expressed over each pregnancy that has been announced, every baby that has arrived, and all the ornery antics of all the little ones in our family.



I am also grateful that I have seen love and acceptance in your face.  I don’t recall ever seeing rejection…I know I have disappointed you over the years but the main thing I’ve seen expressed has not been disappointment even in my worst moments…it has been concern and love that I’ve seen.  What a blessing!  Because of your expressions, I view God in much the same way that I view you.  I am more secure in God’s love because of your love.  Thank you!


So today, I say "Happy Birthday to you!"  I love you and I love your face!!  I love everything about you and I thank our Heavenly Father for the gift he gave me (and all of us) when He gave you life.

My hope is that today, as a result of reading this blog you will have warm thoughts of your fathers...if they aren't/weren't as gracious as my dad, I pray that you will remember all the good things and let go of the things that are painful as you rest in the love of the Father who loves us all the best. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Unless the LORD builds the house...


I was awakened at about 2:45am yesterday morning and laid awake until after 4:00.  What woke me up was a panicky feeling about where we had placed outlets upon a wall we were planning to place cabinets and because of space had made a decision not to.  Yikes!  Was there enough wiring to lower the outlets?  Should we revamp and modify cabinets to make it work in the limited space?  What should we do?

Seriously?

That should not keep a gal awake in the middle of the night.



Then I took it to God.  I said, "Lord, this is getting to me.  You are the one Who knows how things should be laid out.  You are the One Who knows what we need in order to accomplish Your purposes at Four Sisters Farm.  Please help us!"  As I pondered what God might want, Psalm 127 came to mind:


Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.


I want the LORD to build this house.  I want the LORD to watch over our farm.  I want the LORD to grant sleep to me (because I know He loves me).  We do believe our children and grandchildren are a heritage from the LORD and we feel so rewarded and blessed by them.  It is exciting to think about them being like arrows...shot out by us into this world to spread the Good News of God's love.

THAT is what Four Sisters Farm is all about!  I don't have to know the whole plan right now.  I don't have to second guess things.  I know we have to physically do the work...but I don't have to worry or fret.  That outlet is probably right where God wants it.  We will see...He will make it evident.  It will all work out and will be a blessing...and I will sleep better knowing that.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Blessings...Like King David!


I feel a little like King David today!

Psalm 21:1-6


The king rejoices in your strength, LORD. How great is his joy in the victories you give!  You have granted him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips.  You came to greet him with rich blessings   and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.  He asked you for life, and you gave it to him—   length of days, for ever and ever. Through the victories you gave, his glory is great;   you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty. Surely you have granted him unending blessings   and made him glad with the joy of your presence.  For the king trusts in the LORD;   through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.



This past weekend found us busy as most weekends working on the renovation of the Four Sisters Farm house. It feels overwhelming to Pop and me at times. We are grateful for the skills to be able to do much of the work ourselves, but with Pop's work and the fact that I'm a "girl" and don't know how to do many of the things that need doing, it sometimes seems like we will never be past this first phase of preparing for the sheet rocker to come do his thing!
Some weekends it is just Pop working, sometimes it's Pop and me, other weekends find our children and grandchildren in the mix.  This past weekend, the main project was wiring (electrical, phone, antenna cable).  We didn't get it all done but we came a LONG way with help once again...most of the day on Saturday and Sunday afternoon and evening as well!
Thanks to Doc, DW, EJ, and Farm Chick at Heart.  The guys worked hard, the women rode herd on the kids and fed us.  Lou also helped some - she pulled wire with her dad and picked up staples, screws, and nails with the big magnet.  You all bless us!!


I feel a little like King David today!!



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Encouragement


Encouragement came to Four Sisters Farm yesterday evening in the form of help and DQ ice cream...my long time friend brought with her a mutual friend to have dinner with us and to help with some of the remaining demolition.

I've given this young man the blog name "Barnabas" because the name means "son of encouragement" and my girlfriend should have had a blog name a long time ago. I chose the name "Daina" for her for a couple of reasons but the main reason is that it means a form of music or poetry and Daina LOVES music in a huge way so it fits.

You can see that Barnabas LOVES to do demolition and I hear that he’s good at constructing things as well! We have known Barnabas for some years now...since he was a boy...literally. He has grown into a fine young man and we're blessed to know him.

If you have followed the blog, you have seen pictures of Daina before as she has been a long-time friend who seems to always show up and help with our crazy projects. God brought her into our lives more than ten years ago and she is the same now as she was then...she speaks encouragement to us even when she is in the midst of trial herself. She continues to choose to recognize that God is in control and she trusts Him. I'm grateful for her friendship.

The words of Philemon 1:7 sum up my feelings about their visit to Four Sisters Farm yesterday evening, "Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother (and sister, Daina), have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people."

We have had much encouragement from family and friends - but never so much as since we have been "living the dream" at Four Sisters Farm. Sign me "Grateful."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Group discount?

Without realizing it, the three preggo sisters all scheduled OB appointments on the same day.  That wouldn't be all that interesting except for the fact that we all go to the same OB.

We asked our Dr. if there was a group rate? 

No such luck.

Hee Hee.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Babies, Babies all around!

We have a little announcement...


I am sick and tired.  Just like a pregnant woman should be.

Praise the Lord!

If you are keeping track, yes, that means 3 of the 4 sisters are pregnant. 

We are each due 6 weeks apart.

This family better get ready for some serious baby cuddle time!

So far we know that Pretty Princess is having a girl. 

Rock Star will find out in October and I will find out in November. 

Exciting stuff!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Labor Day Weekend 2011

We took the term "Labor Day" literally here at Four Sisters Farm and had a weekend extravaganza of hard work! If you are a regular reader, you already know that we are working hard on a renovation of the main floor of the farm house.

Pop is the "man with the plan" and Doc, PhoJo, and Romeo gave up some rest and relaxation time to join us in more demolition. We are ever so grateful for their help!

Farm Chick at Heart, EJ, and the cowboys had some family plans for the weekend so they missed out on the "fun". They probably are not as tired and sore as the rest of us...we sure missed them!

Pretty Princess, DW and the Unconventional kids were out to Four Sisters Farm to join in where they could. There was some time for go kart rides and some hammock swinging for the kids (I think I spotted Romeo and Pretty Princess in the hammock once as well). DW, Doc, Pop, and I talked through some kitchen design ideas...I know it will all be great but it's still somewhat up in the air!

For the record, we had a few muscle strains, one injury to a finger with a power tool, a broken pickup window, and a power saw that gave up the ghost. We feel blessed that with all we've done, everyone's health is intact and the window and saw can be replaced. God is gracious!

Pretty Princess got in on a wild ride with me from a nearby Lowes where we hauled a new one piece shower to the farm...let's just say, the guys loading it didn't load it right...the wind was blowing hard and we had to drive about 18 or so miles. Picture a Grammy and a pregnant Princess working the ratchet straps over and adding more tie downs so the shower didn't become a sail on the way home. Pretty Princess kept an eye on things as we drove. We prayed, the shower stayed, and Pop was amazed and relieved when he saw that we made it in spite of the way it was loaded! (Sorry, no pictures of that episode!)

However, I did get some candid shots of some of the work...




Go away unwanted walls! Your outdated paneling and 1970s wallpaper
(hiding behind the cabinetry) will not be tolerated
(even if Ladybug likes the flowers on it). It has to go!

Goodbye old cabinets. You've served the house well but you are worn out and your doors no longer stay consistently closed. Thank you for your service. So long. Your more intact pieces will find new places of honor in the shed so you will be seeing more of Pop and less of me.


So long harvest gold bathtubs. Enough said!


We will keep working and posting progress reports. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Old Homestead



I am incredibly blessed to have both my mom and my dad still with us...pictured here with Pretty Princess and Romeo. They are in good health and I'm thankful they shared their hardy genetic makeup with their children, grandchildren, great grandkids, etc.
Earlier this month I was blessed to go to my childhood home for a reunion of sorts...only one brother and his wife were missing. Some of the next generation were there as well which added to the blessing. Pretty Princess, Romeo, The Unconventional Doctor's Wife, and The Unconventional Kids were all there!
There are many families who fuss and fight and refuse to be together and I count my blessings regularly! An extra treat was to have a special first cousin and her hubby there as well. Since her dad (my dad's brother) died some years ago, I hope we were able to give her a sense of connection to her Dad’s family while she was with us.

I am so thankful that Dad and Mom partnered to provide their family (and many others) with a stable and loving home. I know that doing so meant sacrifices on their part; but it has blessed so many. As Pop and I work on our “dream” here at Four Sisters Farm, our parents are the model we base many things on. We see the value of a homestead for our family and know that God gave us a home base with our parents in our old home town; and because of that, we had the luxury of moving our family to accomplish many goals and still have a model for our daughters of the value of putting down roots.
Ultimately, our roots are in our relationship with God…without Him there would be no good reason to place a high priority on family. Once again, I count my blessings.
It’s good stuff to have my children and grandchildren play in the same places I played as a child. It is awesome to watch them climb the same old cottonwood tree that their Great Uncle caught on fire with his "tree house fireplace" and their Great Aunt breaking her arm in that very creek bed and about my part in that. It is fun to retell the stories once again.

I loved being able to watch my niece pull out the yard games and play with the kids like we used to do with her and her cousins when we all gathered there.
I thank God for my Dad and Mom and for so many blessings that I lose count. It seems like we all say that we don’t often enough say “I love you.” Or “Thank you.” And I suppose that is true; but I try to make certain that they hear it from me often enough to have it echo in their minds and hearts when they think about me and about my family. I thank them on behalf of my family and our extended family who long for what they have created there with God as their foundation and love as their motivation.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Celebrating Every Age and Every Stage

When our first daughter (DW) started kindergarten, I remember other mothers asking if I was sad that she was that old...it never really occurred to me to be sad...I was SO excited for her. I remember loving school and loving friends and loving my kindergarten teacher. I just figured she would feel the same way and she did.

I determined right then and there to celebrate each milestone in our childrens' lives. It was a good thing that life was progressing and my children were growing up. I wanted them to grow up. I wanted to be there to watch them and to help them navigate each new phase of their lives. I wanted to encourage our daughters to stretch and grow to become what God determined they would be. Pop and I gave them permission (just as my parents had given us) to be better than we were...better children, better young people, better spouses, and better parents. We realized that what was good enough for us could be improved upon and they have made us proud.

As each of the four sisters grew up and married, we have celebrated time and time again. Sometimes the celebrations have involved parties and other times the changes came about quietly and found me celebrating in a quiet place while shedding a few tears and telling God how grateful I am for His hand and help in raising our family.

Once again, we are celebrating another time of change with Farm Chick (at heart) and EJ and the cowboys having moved on from our multi-generational family home on to their own home (with a great big "growing table") and it seems like the perfect time to celebrate for them and with them.

We are grateful that EJ isn't overly traumatized by living above his in-laws for two years and grateful to have had the privilege of living so close to their family. We are also grateful that Farm Chick married a man who wants to lead his family and partner with her in this adventure we call life. We're glad they will be regular visitors, along with all the sisters and their families, to Four Sisters Farm and we look forward in eager anticipation to family gatherings, sleepovers, campouts, and whatever else Pop and I can dream up for some fun.

Pop and I will "hold down the fort" and continue to live the dream here at Four Sisters Farm. We will continue to blog here and hope that Farm Chick and the other three sisters will contribute often.

Live goes on. Good stuff.

(above picture: Four Sisters 1989)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Growing Table

Our multi-generational adventure at Four Sisters Farm has come to a close.

We moved to town and now we are starting a new adventure.

Don't worry.

We still make frequent visits to Four Sisters Farm!

Pop and Grammy are busy renovating the top floor of the farm. They are "living the dream" as they say.

Like a baby bird I am leaving the nest.

Or the blog in this case.

I have finally done it.

Come on over and sign up to follow me at The Growing Table.

We are growing our family and growing them up.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I can't help it...

I am a proud Auntie. :)

Romeo and Pretty Princess are having a GIRL!

I can already tell she is beautiful.  Just look at this sweet baby...


Thank you God for this precious baby girl!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Demolition Continued...

In this process, I've learned:
  • the value of having the right tools for the job (good thing Pop knows what those tools are)
  • that even dirty work is somewhat enjoyable with friends/family
  • that not all surprises are nice (like mouse skeletons and mud dobber nests), and
  • not to sneak up and take flash photos when Pop is working with electricity. Hee hee.

It's slow going but when you have good help it goes faster and is a little more enjoyable. We're making progress...check us out...

Pop, Romeo, and EJ hard at work until I demanded a photo
PhoJo - he's not as dangerous as he looks!
Kitchen from the entry
Kitchen from the dining area.

Stay tuned for more!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dames Demolition Day

I have been blessed through the years with wonderful girlfriends who have joined me in crazy, hard work on projects that none of us are much qualified for and a day this past week was no exception...

We are in the process of gutting the main floor of our farm house and I'm trying to do my part while Pop is at work. So...Some of my friends joined me. They thought that it sounded like a great way to relieve some stress. I'm SO grateful for friends. We pried, pulled, picked up, pulverized, and piled stuff up high! One friend brought her hubby along with dinner for our crew. Pop arrived in time for dinner and smooched me even through I'd been sweating it out doing demolition work!

We're making good progress...stay tuned for updates! The goal is to go from tired, worn out farmhouse to Farm Charm!