Dreaming…or Discontentment?

Today I’m going to share a few dreams of mine.

Not nighttime while-you-are-asleep-dreams. Those are too weird. 😉

Like the one I had once where Star Wars Storm Troopers attacked my house and there were bombs dropping that bounced like super balls….yeah. Weird.

Not those.

Maybe instead of dreams they are more like goals…things I want to do and hope to be able to but am not sure if I can. So yeah. Dreams.

Probably one of my biggest dreams is to have a little farm.

A cute old house, a barn, a few cows and pigs and maybe sheep. I’d love room to have a nice big garden, a root cellar, a spring house (instead of a fridge). Space for the kids to run and play and get lost in the wonder of being outside.  A place for our chickens to sleep and a nice yard for them to scratch around in.

 

Our chickens are loving being able to eat all the new plants coming up!

Our chickens are loving being able to eat all the new plants coming up!

I want the farm to need a little fixing up, some love to get it back into shape. I don’t want a clean, new house and fancy barn. I want old, rustic, something with history and character. I’d like a place we can put our fingerprint on and make just how we want it and not be afraid of messing up with mud or dirt or if something gets colored on the walls. I like the satisfaction that comes with hard work, with knowing we made something better than it was, with our own hands.

Road Trip: Finished!

This is a farm we passed somewhere in Iowa, on our trip from Tennessee to Washington.. I took the picture from the car, hence the blurry foreground.

 

Sometimes, I want these things so badly it almost hurts. So badly my eyes fill with tears when I think about it.

Then I wonder…

Why do I want these things?

So that we can produce most of our own food and not rely on the ever-increasing dangerous industrial food system.

Because I want our children to learn the skills it takes to run a small farm, and the responsibility that comes with such hard work.

Because I like having little animal friends that follow me around everywhere.

Because I really enjoy getting my hands in the dirt and cultivating it and watching plants grow.

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A black bean sprout from our garden last year.

So we can have a place that our kids and grand-kids can come back to when they are grown and gather there and cultivate new memories.

So we can teach others about gardening and homesteading, and how to be more healthy and sustainable.

 

When I think of these things I wonder…

Am I being discontent with what God has given me?

I have a lovely sweet amazing husband, three amazing children and countless other blessings! We do have chickens living at my parent’s property and fresh eggs. We joined a CSA to get fresh organic vegetables. I have a nicer house to live in than we’ve ever had before and a great church family and my parents and two brothers and sister close by.

Am I being discontent with where I am right now?  

In a neighborhood with round-up saturated green lawns all around me and soil that is polluted beyond use for a veggie garden…yet literally a million dollar view of the mountains and ocean, and a beach that we can walk to! And a deck where I could container garden if I made the effort.

I wonder…

Did He put these desires for a farm in my heart or did I? 

Am I just being idealistic and trying to escape reality?

I don’t know.

 

I do know this, though: When my desire for a sweet little farm is greater than my desire for what God has for me, for our family-

Then I am being discontent. 

Then, I am making it an idol instead of a dream.

Then, I am in sin.

Because no matter where life takes me, my greatest desire should always be for God.

For what He has for me, and who he wants to make me into.

“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

And the smaller details of life are insignificant compared to the all-surpassing joy and freedom of knowing Christ.

Because He is my peace.

He is my Home.

He is my life.

No matter where I end up, or what God brings me through, that is enough. He is enough.

If I get my idyllic farm someday full of hard work and the sacrifices that come with it, that would be amazing. If I don’t, I’ll get over it eventually. In the meanwhile, I try to be hopeful and stay content with where I am.  And when I fail, there’s God’s grace that can cover any sin, if I just ask Him. 🙂

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Springtime Scenes

It’s springtime!!
The weather has been improving around here lately and we’ve so been enjoying being outside without it turning cold or rainy. (Although that still happens…a lot. It is after all, Washington State. And “warm” is a relative term….to us that means more than 50F degrees.) It’s supposed to warm up to 70F next week though- I am SO excited!

I’ve been trying to have us go on walks/hikes more often, to enjoy the outdoors as well as get some exercise. Here are some pictures of a few family outings recently, and just some springtime beauty.

 

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On a walk through the woods at a local trail park

 

Our chickens are loving being able to eat all the new plants coming up!

Our chickens are loving being able to eat all the new plants coming up

 

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I love the sunniness of dandelions against these old transformer caps!

 

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Some of my favorite springtime flowers.

 

A walk on the beach turned up this cute little crab.

A walk on the beach turned up this cute little crab.

 

My sweet little girls

My sweet little girls

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I hope you have a lovely weekend and enjoy springtime! 🙂

I’m Back! And Introducing…..Olivia Jane

Hi!
So it’s been…um since November, I think, since I’ve posted anything on the ole blog.
Our family entered a season of busy-ness, and it kind of got pushed to the wayside, much to my chagrin. The good news is, I am back in the blogosphere and so excited to share what’s been going on and look ahead to spring and summer…oh my. I just love spring. And summer.
Those buds popping out on the trees…the birds singing…the fleeting sunshine that is actually warm when it shows it’s face.

The newest thing that’s happened around here is…I had a baby. Sweet Olivia Jane, born early in the morning on March 8. We pretty much are just completely in love with her. 🙂

Just a few hours old. Me, Hubby and Olivia

Just a few hours old. Me, Hubby and Olivia

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One week old

Big brother Ethan and big sister Ellie snuggling with 2 week old Olivia.

Big brother Ethan and big sister Ellie snuggling with 2 week old Olivia.

So my days have been spent alternating between resting and trying to regain some sense of normalcy; so far it’s going pretty well. Having a new baby always is an adjustment period, but the kids are handling it nicely and they just love their new little sister!

Looking ahead; I’m going to be talking about CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture), gardening (or lack thereof) and some herbal remedies that you can find probably in your very own back yard! Also I’ll be musing about “natural” store-bought products versus making your own truly natural ones and if it’s worth it or not to make your own. So if any of that sounds interesting, I’d love to have you follow along!

 

Black and White

Hi!
I’ve got a few things in the works for content for this week but none of it is ready yet, so I thought I’d show you some pictures we took using my camera’s black and white/gritty film feature.

I hope you have a great Memorial Day!!

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Driftwood

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Handsome Hubby 🙂

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Picnic with the kids.

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My Sweet Ethan

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Adventurous Eliana

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Fingers. Eliana took this picture! Pretty good for a 3 year old.

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Curtain.

 

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Eliana getting kisses from our dog, Lucy.

Springtime Scenes

It’s been raining here a lot lately- it is spring in the Pacific Northwest, after all.

However at some point almost every day, there are breaks in the cloudiness and the sun peeks her head out.

Just enough time to pick some dandelions…

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and to do some cool tricks in the grass.

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The flowers are blooming so beautifully!

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There are baby cows next door and on the surrounding farms. (I know, they’re called calves. I just like saying baby cows better.)

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The kids got to see one being born last week- they thought it was the coolest thing ever. I missed it, so we don’t have any pictures. 😦  We were taking care of some friend’s cows, and the one day I didn’t go help feed them, a baby was born right in front of everyone!

How is it looking around your house? Is it still looking like winter, or are there flowers springing up everywhere?

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Happy Spring! 🙂

“Pinterest-esque” Hair Self Portrait Fail

Okay, so here’s a funny thing that happened to me Tuesday. My hair is long and wavy, and looks like this:

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Yup, that’s my hair.

But I usually wear it like this- to keep it out of my face and from getting caught in car seat belts and falling into food and stuff. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But then I saw this on Pinterest and thought, “Hey that’s pretty! I’ll try it.”

source

So I did. And it actually worked!! I was so elated, I tried to take a picture but got this…

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and this…

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and this…

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and this….

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And finally…this.

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Really, how DO these girls take pictures like this?? I don’t know.

source

Sigh. You’ll just have to believe me when I say it was really pretty.

The end. 🙂

Springtime Fun in Skagit Valley

On Saturday, our family went on a little adventure up in Skagit Valley, Washington.

Skagit Valley is in Northwest Washington, nestled next to the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. It’s full of beautiful fields, rolling clouds, small towns and quaint villages.  There are berry farms, dairy farms, tulip farms and everything in between.

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Burlington is probably the most “modern” town- all of the big box stores are there, like Costco and Target and Best Buy and the Cascade Mall is there. We go up to Burlington to go shopping every couple months.
Mount Vernon is just across the Skagit river from Burlington and still retains more of it’s small-town charm with a cute little downtown and artsy shops lining the streets along the river. Skagit Valley College’s main campus  is also located there.

Hubby had to go up to Mt. Vernon to get his Washington driver’s license and we made a nice day trip out of it.

After the business of the day was done, ( the kids and  I waited in the car while hubby got his license because Ellie fell asleep and it was raining like crazy) then we went to the Skagit Food Co-op for lunch.

The Skagit Food Co-op is like a grocery store/ deli/coffee shop where organic meats and dairy and produce is sold, as well as healthy dried goods, bulk items like oats and rice and dried fruits. There is also a pretty good-sized vitamin and body product section, as well as a mercantile upstairs that sells clothing, kitchen utensils and all around interesting stuff.

They also hold educational classes on natural living and wellness for the general public, which is cool. It’s kinda like a local version of Whole Foods Market.

We just ate at the deli and got some coffee and perused the selection of groceries. I expect if you’re a member (you pay an annual due and get discounts in return) , it may be worth your while to shop there but I found it somewhat overpriced for the things we usually buy- bulk steel cut oats and regular rolled oats were more than our local grocery store (which we consider on the more expensive end of things!) and the meat didn’t look any better than what we have  closer to home- it was the same selection for more money. I found a new appreciation for our local store after browsing around the Co-op.

They did have some really good local organic, heirloom seeds and seed potatoes/onions- if I hadn’t already ordered seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds I may have bought some there.

After lunch, we started moseying over to LaConner; a charming little town along the Salish Sea that separates Fidalgo Island from the mainland.

On the way we passed the world-famous Skagit Valley Tulip Fields.

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They are SO beautiful!!

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Every year there is a tulip festival for nearly the entire month of April and there are fields upon fields of gorgeous tulips and daffodils for you to enjoy.
There is an admission charge to park and get out and walk through the tulips, but you can see them just fine driving by- which is what we did.

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There are also some really neat barns and farmhouses around that area, which I love.

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After the tulips, we continued on to LaConner.

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It’s such a cute little town!!

We strolled around the square,

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browsed through some antique shops and a book store and then we saw a huge old section of a tree- it was like 7 or 8 feet around and just as tall. Incredible.

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Of course, we had to walk along the channel and see the boats.

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And no trip to a cute small tourist town is complete without  cheesy pictures- or ice cream!!
It was really good ice cream too- locally made with wild blackberries. Yum!

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When we tired of strolling, we got back in the car and headed over to Anacortes, back on Fidalgo Island.

There is a park  way up on the hill above the city called Cap Sante Park.

And there is an AMAZING view our over the water from it.

On one side you can see Anacortes; on the other side you see the oil refineries and then out across the sea.

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Part of Anacortes

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The Oil Refinery.

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Looking the other way, out to sea. Isn’t that a huge ship?

The park pretty much consists of really big rocks that are kind of scary to climb on. (really, just scary to let your 3 and 5 year old clamber over. I kept envisioning them falling the hundreds of feet into the water.)

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Of course, they were careful and were just fine, although I did freak out once when Ellie ran toward the edge. It seemed like she was right on the edge, about to fall when in reality she was still about 10 feet away. That’s more than close enough though!

Anyway, the wind was cold and it was dinner time, so we left and headed home.

What a wonderful day!

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If you live any where near Skagit Valley, it’s definitely worth visiting. We love it there.

Spring Is Coming!!

This morning the sky is gray and cloudy, and it’s still somewhat chilly

but…..

stepping outside onto the front porch, I hear birds singing.
Spring is coming.

There are daffodil shoots coming up in the backyard,

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The heather is blooming like crazy.

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Something else springing up from the ground, pushing its way through the black soil.

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Gorgeous white flowers are blooming along the front of the house-

they look nondescript from the top, but get down on their level and….

Oh my goodness. God is so awesome.

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The pussy willow tree is budding, as are several other little bushes around the yard.

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I’m so excited for everything to burst into green and color and for baby cows to appear in the field next door!

We had sunshine this past week, and it was 60 degrees!

The kids and my mother and I spent a lot of the day outside, pruning overgrown bushes and cleaning up; getting ready for new growth. The sun had warmth. It was wonderful!!  More days just like that are coming. And I’m welcoming them with open arms. 🙂

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My three-year old, Eliana took this picture. Amazing!

Hodgepodge of Thoughts, on Life and Faith

I’ve been really thinking lately, and struggling with a few things and wondering what God’s purpose for us is right now in this season of life.

(This is a somewhat more “deep” post than usual…so if you’re looking for crafts or natural living, today isn’t the day. 🙂

We thought we were moving to Oklahoma in April.
It turns out, every door we tried to open was closed- we couldn’t sell our house, we couldn’t find a rental house, we couldn’t find a job, we couldn’t even get change of address forms from the post office! (I tried two different post offices, and both of them were out.) That was the final tipping point- down to the little details, it was clear that God wanted us to stay here.
We prayed and prayed about it and it was obvious we needed to stay where we are.
So we did.

God has totally blessed our obedience and given Tim an awesome new job, we have our cute chickens and are financially doing better than we have …pretty much ever, even though things are still tight.
But…
I still feel discontented.

Like I’m missing out on some great adventure, and instead I’m stuck in this hot, sticky, sunny place with no beach and tons of humidity when all I really want is to see mountains and have cool nights and rain and be able to be outside for more than 5 minutes without feeling like I’m going to faint from the heat.
I feel frustrated because I really don’t want to be here.
 We have several friends who are moving away and I don’t want to be left here without them and without any family.
I wish we could still move, not to Oklahoma but somewhere else…somewhere cooler with mountains and wide open expanse where we can have a small farm, but it just seems impossible.

Yet, I just have to trust that God knows best for my life; for our family, that His plans are right and true and good even when they don’t seem like it.
The theme of the year for us is “Trust” and boy, is God teaching me that right now.
I know he is good, but do I really trust him? Even when he leads me places I don’t want to be?
The answer has to be yes, even though my flesh cries out “no” with each passing moment that it is denied.
I have to trust, because if I don’t, I would be denying Him lordship in my life which means I wouldn’t really believe he is; indeed my Saviour and worthy of all my trust, my praise. That He is worthy of all glory and honor and obedience…and I am nothing without Him.

A song keep coming to mind when I have days like this; it’s by a band called Something Like Silas (they’re not together anymore but they were really great)
It says:

“So I’ll trust You, when I cannot see,
So I’ll trust You, when the shadows hover over me
And I’ll love you, when the distance leaves me cold,
And I’ll love you, and I’ll still believe that You are Sovereign Lord”

And then the bridge goes,

“I’m learning to trust, I’m learning to feel, I’m learning to love you, always.”

And so, even though I don’t know why we’re supposed to still be here, I will trust.
This verse jumps out at me pretty much every morning, when I’m having my quiet time on the back steps, sipping my black, sweet coffee and watching the chickens scratch in the dew.

I am doing my best to dwell in His shelter, because that is really the only shelter we need.

“He that dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 91:1,2