Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Looking forward, looking back

What a gorgeous week of perfect fall weather. I am just enjoying every minute of it! and I am enjoying it even more this year than last year. :)
  Last year at this time we were still in the throes of moving in to our cabin and adjusting to "pioneer life".
Ed and I jokingly told each other in those first days, " Now we know what freedom is, it tastes a lot like dirt." :)   In spite of many of the physical difficulties we were facing, it was seriously such a relief, once the move was over and we were out of a rental and on our own land. It took a few weeks for it to sink in that we could put down roots and do whatever we wanted 'cause it was ours.
 I  do have to confess to a bit of apprehension going into this venture about how the kids were going to adjust and how was I going to keep them clean and healthy and safe and warm. But they have thrived. Truly. As anxious as I was to be out in the country, and knowing that they would be better for it, I was still amazed to find that in the space of a few weeks they were gaining muscle and weight and their appetites were huge and they were looking less pale and more rosy. Not that my kids have been sickly…quite the opposite. But like all moms, I would worry. The LORD has provided since day one, above and beyond what we expected.

  Then:
 - our cabin was a lot more primitive
 - I was cooking on a 2-burner propane camp stove,
 - we were pumping our water by hand from our well and carrying it to a barrel to treat with bleach      before running it through our Berkey water filter
 - we were dealing with lots of dirt and mud
 - I was either washing clothes by hand or hauling them into town to the laundromat
 - we were hauling every last thing we brought from town 100 yards over a log "bridge"(which is a fancy name for it) and through mud and water to get it to the cabin
 - we were figuring out how to adjust our expectations to a slower lifestyle
 - we were doing dip baths out of an old toy tub in front of a heater on the porch
 - did I mention, dealing with lots of dirt?
 - and yet with all of that enjoying our first taste of freedom. :)

And now? Well, now we are a lot more settled and stable. Still rustic in many ways, but so much stronger for our experiences and confident of the Lord's care and direction even when we might not know exactly what the next thing is. My faith has grown and my confidence has grown.  It feels strange saying this, but I feel as though the Lord has allowed me to experience so many new things and see just what I am capable of, with His help, in areas I have never been tested in before.  I learned how to use power tools in helping frame and build our cabin. We have felled trees and cleared brush and timber. We've learned to improvise and be innovative.  And lest I sound like I'm bragging, I in no way think I or we could have done any of this in our own strength. It's all the Lord's doing.  And I'm also not saying it was easy. Or that there weren't days when I struggled and wished for the easy way out. 'Cause there have been those days too. But living outside so much more has not only improved my mental outlook but also my physical strength. There are constant reminders of our God's awesome power and creation in nature. It's harder to be depressed when a fall sunset or a starlit sky are just beyond our fingertips.
 So here we are. We just celebrated one year on our homestead and we are looking forward to what the next year has to offer.
  I'll try to include a few pictures over the next little while to show you where we are today and also give a peek at where we are headed. In the meantime, we are trying to just live each day as the Lord gives it to us. Uneventfully and simply and hopefully making the best use of our time and resources.

PS. The song "Home" by Phillip Phillips became a favorite when we first heard it right after moving. :)








Sunday, October 12, 2014

It's Time

I think 2 years is a pretty good blog furlough, don't you?
 It's been so long I couldn't even remember my login and password and it spent way too much of my very limited "air time" trying to work out those little kinks.  I have been hoping to get back to blogging for about a year now, but it really became imperative when I realized this past week just how rusty my social/communication skills are becoming. I mean really. I spend 90% of my time talking with my kids:
  it's mostly one-sided and not usually intellectually challenging( if you don't count how many times I answer the same question the exact same way before I lose it. :\ ) We don't have internet right now (although hopefully soon) and so that eliminates any online communication or outside input.  Add to that, we live on a little homestead in the woods with chickens, a cat, and a dog and the conversational options really get narrow. I talk Ed's ears off when he is home, and I feel as though our friends at church  are thinking they never get a word in when we talk. Of course this is always in retrospect, because somehow I can't seem to remember quite how to negotiate conversations in the moment. And I have plenty of time after the fact to analyze what I said, and what they said, and how I sounded to myself and then what must they be thinking…..
 so, yeah.
It's definitely time. Time to start blogging. Time to re-enter the world where social graces come naturally and I don't come across …however it is that I come across.

 I'm not going to try to fit 2 years worth of living into one little blog post but the biggest life changes are the fact that we sold half our stuff, built a cabin in the woods and became homesteaders….and have been there about a year now. I'm just beginning to feel my feet under me again in one sense. Or least able to keep my feet and my balance in the new rhythm of life, and begin to be able to think of other things and notice that there is a world out there again.
  If there are any of you left to read this after 2 years, Thank you for hanging in there!!!! maybe it will be entertaining and maybe you will think I'm nuts! but whatever the case, I need to do this for me. So that I can practice "talking".  And for you, so that we can have a conversation where I don't stick my foot in my mouth. ;)
  See ya around, and have a blessed week!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Rodan and Fields

 First of all, let me say I did not go looking for anything else to add to my already full plate. But a couple months back one of my closest friends, Britney Harper, got involved with this business. She is a stay-at-home mom of 6 (with 8 mth old twins) and homeschools. So I knew when she got started it had to be something that was worth it (and for her it was a specific answer to prayer). But I didn't immediately hop on board. One reason being, I am the world's worst sales person. Seriously. The only thing I can do is yard sales where I give something away for 50 cents. Add to that, I just couldn't see where any time would come from to give to any new venture. But.... a week or so ago Ed mentioned to me that he wanted me to find out more about Rodan and Fields and see if it was worth getting involved in. So that led me to believe this is a direction the Lord wanted me to take and I called her to find out more info....and that was the beginning of the end.
   Anyway...so I went to my first R&F meeting Thursday evening (Ed went with me) and we were both very impressed with the reputation of the business as well as the products they offer.  Which is.... a prescription-grade line of skin care from the creators of Proactiv, Drs Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields.  To find out their whole story go here and here.
 Almost everyone I know of, including some of my own family, has skin issues of some kind and could benefit from a trip to the dermatologist, but who can afford it?   As many of you  know, I do try to treat any health issues naturally or with alternative medicine, but sometimes it just doesn't work and you need something more effective. This is a great solution.
  Long story short I am now an independent consultant with Rodan and Fields. You can visit my website here to learn more:   https://jessicablakeman.myrandf.com/    and       https://jessicablakeman.myrandf.biz/
  I'm excited to see where this is going to go. The Lord is already blessing my endeavors more than I would have imagined. If any of you want to know more, please feel free to contact me here or on facebook.

P.S. For the record, I have zero ambition to be the next millionaire(ess) or own a Lexus (hello...where would I put 8 kids ), but I would love to be able to see my husband more than 2  or 3 days in 10.( And by days I mean 24 hour periods not 9-to-5s. =))))And financially everyone can use some extra income...  right?! =)
                            

Updates and a new business venture

 Yes, life continues to be a blur of activity most days. Even when I'm not "getting anything done" I still feel like I dont' know where the time went.
  Wyatt is 7 months now and has started on baby food besides still nursing. I think this kid is going to be the Jolly Green Giant. He eats ALL the time. He is almost crawling....he can scoot everywhere he just doesn't have his "form" down yet. =) He's also practicing being heard above the crowd. Not mad or upset just reallllllyyy loud! He especially loves doing it when we are sitting in church. So my days of sitting through a service are few and far between.
  Asher is about as rascally and bad as an almost 3yr old little boy can be. Problem is, he's just so stinking charming about it. He has been needing lots of intervention lately. Kyla is his innocent-looking partner-in-crime. She begs to do school work but I don't often have an activity ready for her to do so I'll send them to play together. I still not sure if that's a good thing or a a bad thing. It has mixed results.
  Levi is in 1st grade now and learning to read. He loves to do school and would be happy if I had stuff for him to do from morning to night. Isaac is the same way as far as school goes. I've been having to really work on the responsibility side of things though. These two would be happy to leave all chores to the oldest 3. BUT that doesn't work so well around here so I have had to come up with some creative solutions for dealing with that.
  Aaron, Lela, and Alyssa are my biggest helpers. They help with cooking, cleaning and laundry (as do the younger ones, but less so). You would think with all that we would have smooth sailing and things would go like clockwork. Ummm, nah! not really. Cause I still have a hard time keeping it all organized and if Mom's not together...well, you know.
  I would say schooling is my biggest hurdle, but really, as I was sharing with Ed, any one thing on it's own is doable. It's just trying to juggle everything and make it all fit in a small house that makes for hair pulling frustration at times. (And on that note...I did have to cut my hair recently. It was falling out really bad and was just one more thing to try to deal with. Maybe one of these days I can grow it long again, but for now. Easy is best.)

   Add to all of that a new business venture and you probably think I've lost mind. But I prayed long and hard before making any decision.....
  Stay tuned and I'll share more in the next post. =)


Friday, October 5, 2012

Flowers for Mama

They say a picture is worth a thousand words...