Monday, August 29, 2016

Monday Musings and Meanderings

I am very hopeful that my computer issues will be resolved soon.  In the meantime, I thought I'd check in and say hello.  We're wrapping up our summer over here in the Hollow.  We went on an expedition today to a little dive of a restaurant called the Purple Cow.  One of the girls had mentioned a purple cow offhandedly in conversation with an old friend, so we had to try it out.  It was such a fun little jaunt. 

It's definitely harvest time here in the Hollow, which, although we're not Amish, means that all hands are on deck to process fruits and veggies and get them on the canning shelf or in the freezer.  I've certainly put in my time of canning/preserving by myself with a screaming toddler clinging to my leg, but this year, THIS YEAR, I have minions, y'all.  The sheer wonder of having minions cannot be properly appreciated until one has birthed and trudged through the raising and training of their own minions.  It's years worth of work.  Once, when my brother was eyeing up our minions, who are trained to assist in butchering deer, the Rugged Mountain Man lifted an eyebrow and shot back with, "Raise your own minions."  It's really astounding the number of elderberries the girlies and I can de-stem in an hour on the back deck with just an audio book to keep us company.  We've enjoyed How to Eat Fried Worms, The Twits, The Min Pins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and we've just started James and the Giant Peach.  That oughta give you an idea of the number of elderberries we've de-stemmed.  (And yes, the girlies are big Roald Dahl fans.) 

And, speaking of the back deck, I'm thrilled that construction has finally begun on the roof over the back deck.  When my computer is back, I'll show you a picture of the boulder (yes, boulder) that the Rugged Mountain Man and I dug out of the first hole.  We had to dig five.  We dug all but one of the holes together and I'm bloody proud of them.  Yep, bloody proud.  There's just something about doing tough work with your man.

I've been thinking a lot about motherhood lately.  It's interesting how motherhood drives some women to despair OR motherhood drives some women to prayer.  What's the difference?  Why is this so?  We can mistakenly believe that we are enough.  If I believe I am enough to be the "right" kind of mama, the kind that is effective and Godly, I will return to despair time and time again.  (probably at about the 8pm mommy-ometer plunge)  The fact of the matter is that I truly am not enough.  I will never, in my own strength, be the "right" kind of mama, the "good" kind of mama.  What I'm doing every day is a spiritual work, cloaked with loads of the mundane.  The only way I can ever accomplish anything worthwhile in the sight of God, is to work in His strength and grace. It's not me.  If I think it's me, I will despair.  If I think it's God working through me, I will pray.  I will pray early.  I will pray often.  I will whisper to Him.  I will shout for His help.  I will plead.  I will cry out.  I will return to His presence repeatedly for more grace, more strength.  Motherhood drives me to prayer, not despair.  Today, I offer the comfort that you truly aren't enough and there's nothing wrong with that.  Don't despair, return often to prayer. 

Stick around, friends.  I'm really not gone.  More thoughts from the Hollow soon.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hello friends,

I hope you haven't been worried about us.  My absence is mostly related to us being technologically crippled right now.  We're limping along with a few Kindle tablets and a laptop dug out of the basement and the Dark Ages.  #blah  #thankGoditsonlyafirstworldproblem

You already know how busy we were and then we journeyed to the cabin for some serious rest and relaxation.  The cabin is where we do "nothing."  And by "nothing," I mean sit on the porch, "slop" in the creek, play tag or catch toads.  It was GLORIOUS nothing.  We threw off the cares that accumulate in this world.  I found myself reveling in the solitude and delighting in the family time.  It's a cool season that we're in - family games of tag and such.  Yes, yes, YES!!! 

Tomorrow the Rugged Mountain Man and I celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary.  I am in awe.  I love my husband now more than ever.  It's such a blessing to look back and see the fruits of steadily and faithfully loving each other.  Don't tell anyone, I'm going to attempt my neighbor's trusty Baklava recipe.  Shhhhh.  Blossom4 already very sweetly told Daddy what Mommy got him.  And Daddy thinks it's just the cutest thing ever that she was caught digging through my closet so that she could find it and show him. 

Blossom1 celebrated her 11th birthday not long ago as well.  Can it be that I've been a mama for 11 years already?  Reflecting on those years takes me straight to the grace of God.  It is a daily grace for this mama gig.  Blossom1 is a sweet little girl, growing into a young lady.  When I was overwhelmed today and realized I still needed to pack some lunches, she replied with, "Don't worry, mama, I'll do the lunches."  And she did.  Thank you, God.

Alright, I'm trying not to burn the Chicken Alfredo AND manage this prehistoric laptop's antics at the same time.  I'll sign off for now. 


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Gaga Pit Goodness

One of my favorite parts about the Fair, aside from seeing all the Blossoms' hard work pay off, was the Gaga Pit.     

Gaga ball is an arena version of Dodge ball.  Gaga means "touch-touch" in Hebrew.

The Livestock Committee completed this pit literally days before the Fair started.  It was an outstanding investment in the children. 
 As we were watching the hog show earlier in the week, Blossom1 and Blossom2 kept cheering for 4-Hers whom I'd never met.  When probed, my "poor unsocialized homeschoolers" (insert extreme sarcasm here) informed me they'd met in the Gaga ball pit. 
The Blossoms spent their free time just outside the poultry/rabbit barn, playing game after game.  Then, they'd jump up on the rails when they were out or ready to rest.  (Do kids ever rest?)

Who else plays gaga ball with the smoke colored mountains and a grassy valley as the back drop?  On the last night of the Fair, the Rugged Mountain Man and I mistakenly thought we'd get home and get to bed for a good night's rest.  In the end, we couldn't bring ourselves to tear the girlies away from their gaga ball marathon evening.  It was the pinnacle of their week and their celebratory mood was tangible.

The girlies were chatting, laughing, organizing, sassing, dancing and dodging.  The two of us willingly reclined on the vintage church pew perfectly situated for those of us who pointedly avoided the gaga pit and its fast paced fun.  It felt so good to rest, hold the Rugged Mountain Man's hand and mull over the week with him.  Eating wings and deep fried oreos was a pretty big plus too. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Big and Little

I confess, as I sat in my chair this morning, having my morning cuppa tea and quiet time, I was jolted with the remembrance that I have a blog.  You can laugh; I did.  The blur overtook us for a few days.   And, it was oh so worth it.  But more pictures and such another time.  I'm resting today.

During my quiet time, I've been pondering things that we want to pass on to the girls, things that we want to be sure to teach them.  This morning I prayed specifically for insight into our children's hearts and wisdom and understanding for my dealings with them.  Later on, when soaking up some rest and reveling in long-awaited restful recreational reading, Blossom4 bounced in.  She climbed into my lap and snuggled up in the way that we usually start each morning.  I tickled her and told her that she did good staying dry all night, the usual Mommy and Blossom4 morning chatter.  She piped up,

"Mama, when I jump on yo' bed, I am BIG." 

My thoughts immediately starting moving past what seem to be a meaningless and random childish statement.  After a moment's pause, I asked,

"What are you at bedtime?"

She replied with, "I am dust a yittle girl den." 

Blossom1 at 1yr old!

We moved on to other teasing.  "What are you when Daddy tickles you?"  "What are you when Mama helps you?" and giggles ensued, but the pattern remained.  She was big, invincible and independent at times and vulnerable and little at other times. 

This conversation has given me much food for thought all morning.  Once babies are passed the high and obvious need stage, our society pressures us that they are and must act independent and unattached.  I know.  As a mom, I've felt the pressure in situations too numerous to count.  Our children feel independent at times, yet there are still times and moments of vulnerability, in which they are just children, needing us.  I feel as though the Lord has granted me a shaft of understanding into my children's hearts.  They are growing in independence and skills, but there are times the Blossoms really are "just little girls."  I want to use this knowledge and insight into their hearts to respond in compassion and mercy, by God's grace.  My heart whispered gratitude at this simple answer to a mama's prayer. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Day #3-#6 the 4H Blur

Rather than recount all the scintillating details of watching the hog show, washing chickens, watching the races and winning at the poultry show, creating a blog post full of Fair details you may or may not be interested in, I thought I'd take a stab at the ins and outs of 4-H Fair week culture, just for kicks.


* When boots go with anything and everything.  #bliss

* When the Rugged Mountain Man needs a dog towel, only to learn that they are ALL out on the clothesline because you used them to dry chickens.  #sorryhoney

* When you discover you'd rather butcher chickens, than wash them.  #seriously

* When chicken puke on your boots only serves to distress them more fashionably.  #realdistressing

* When the other 4-Hers advise you to buy your children a barn for Christmas.  #4hthroughandthrough

* When pigs are considered the coolest animal to show, only strengthening the Blossoms' desire to show "big animals" soon.  #isbiggerbetter

* When the senior showmen are scared of the junior showmen.  #youdbetterstudyharderyall

* When nobody notices dirt and poop.  #nuffsaid

* When scrounging through your change to scrape together enough for a milkshake at your favorite ice cream stand is perfectly acceptable, just so you can get the commemorative t-shirt like your mama always got when you were a kid.  #itwasthatimportant

Yes, #4hforever,

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Day #3

Taking that showmanship test.
Watching the storm roll in.

Girls love bunnies!