The Sweetness of My Reality

Just an FYI, my life is NOT perfect. Quite honestly it is a mess – both figuratively and literally. Please don’t mistake gratitude and positive outlook as boasting. That is absolutely NOT what I am trying to transmit here. Lots of terrible things have happened in my life and my family’s life and I’ve come to realize that wasting time bitching and moaning about little things is useless. It’s a waste. And I choose to try to look on the brighter side of things…..express gratitude for seemingly simple things like green grass and black dirt. I’ve lost a lot – though not as much as some – and I am so filled with gratitude for thing simple things that I do have….that have been given back to me.

I am trying to practice gratitude and sincere appreciation for the everyday.

With that being said……my gratitude today is for my husband. He is the most hard working man I have ever known. And he does it for us. He works a job that he really isn’t all that fond of doing, he takes as much overtime as he can get, then he comes home and works outside on a shared passion – our little piece of farmly heaven. He works so hard. And he’s never really take vacation “just because”. It has always been so we could spend a holiday with family or so he could take a hunting trip or do some work for someone else or post-baby or whatever. But this year he decided it was time. He worked almost the entire month of May and now has almost the entire month of June off. Just Because. Tomorrow is day 1. And already I’ve seen him smile more, relax more, and talk more. This month is going to be just what our family needs: TIME.

And so I say with sincerity and gratitude…..Today My Reality Is SWEET.

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Harboring Hope

I am proud to be Catholic. I love my faith. I do. Though there was a time when I was sincerely searching for the truth (in other religions), I ultimately found my way back to the Catholic Church. My experience of God proved so much deeper and intense within my Catholic faith than anywhere else. And ultimately there was a point of realization that a “fullness” of truth was to be found there along with great peace and happiness. And so it is there that I stay. However, one …. embarrassment? of mine is a lack of knowledge of scripture. I applaud and greatly appreciate fellow non-Catholic christians who study scripture. I was never taught to study scripture. Sure I know what the Church teaches and I know it is founded in scripture, but I was not necessarily encouraged to or taught to look it up in scripture or know the foundational verses. Believe me, that comes in handy when having a religious discussion. Non-Catholic christians aren’t too interested in what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says. They are all about scripture. Which prompted me to dive into the big book. I generally don’t have a particular style/pattern of study. During Lent I read a lot of the Psalms. Proverbs is amazing. The Pentateuch is so foundational and entertaining for me I could read it over and over again. Lately, I’ve been reading Paul’s letters (since it’s Easter season and all). A particular verse has brought me such peace these past days (which have been very trying):

“…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Rom 5:3-5)

WOW Wow.

“‘Be still and know that I am God. I am exalted among the nations. I am exalted in teh earth!’ The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.”
(Ps 46:10,11)

I am falling in love all over again. Though I am far from any point of memorization or spouting of verses, the thirst/desire to read and absorb is almost insatiable. God is good. He is so good to me. And I am grateful to find solace in His Word.

Update

We’ve been so busy! Spring on a developing farm can get kinda crazy especially when the #1 farmer decides to take insane amounts of overtime at his day job. It’s okay. We discussed it months ago and agreed that if he was up for it, in the end the check would be nice. But no more overtime for a while. John worked at least 1 sometimes 2 extra days a week for the entire month of May and on Monday he starts almost an entire month of vacation (with a few days of work here and there). Needless to say, I.CAN”T.WAIT.

But during these past couple weeks we’ve adapted to Fiona, prepared and planted most of the garden (except the tomatoes), prepared and plant a little wildflower garden for Yvette, cleaned up the yard…once (though it looks like it could use it again), tried to soak up some quality time with Daddy, hosted several weekends full of guests, finished up the school year, and I am working on a rather large project that seems to be making steady strides forward. It has been a full month….a good month.

Next month starts out with 9 days of vacation for John. 9 days of projects, family time, chicken coop building, late night movies and bonfires. Then the weekend he works is the weekend my oldest brother is moving in with us. Then 8 more days of vacation after that which includes 5 days of insanity and fun with my two nieces. Last year we took Isabell and Abby for 5 days just for fun. It worked out so well that we are hoping to make it an annual thing right around Father’s Day so we can do something in honor of Stephen. Last year they planted an apple tree for their dad. Isabell said she even remembers him loving applesauce so much he put it on his ice cream once. We thought an apple tree would be appropriate. This year John wants to make bird houses with them and then let them paint them any color(s) they want. I really like that idea. And then it’s something they can take home with them.
After Isabell and Abby’s stay, John heads back to work to finish off the month. Then July hits with several family birthday’s every week….wedding anniversaries….death anniversaries….and at the end of the month we head out to Montana to pick up a couple more alpaca…..PREGO females! 🙂 We are so excited! August winds down the summer and we hope to welcome a few goats during that month. School starts in September. And things DON”T slow down until the snow comes again. EEK.

We have a busy summer ahead and I’m trying really hard to maintain some order and a schedule. Anybody else have issues with time management? Yeah. I’m not so good at it. I realize it is my biggest obstacle and I know what I have to do to make positive strides in the right direction….but it’s SO HARD! Anyway, I am thinking of taking a break from all things internet (except the blog) for the summer to help combat my difficulty. I find myself wasting time just surfing, reading forum posts, messaging friends whom I could just call instead, peeking into people’s lives on Facebook, or whatever. It always seems necessary in the moment but then 5-10-25-45 minutes pass when I could have been working on a project or planting the rest of the garden or spending time with my husband and kids. I really don’t want to be that person that lives more online than off….whose days or hours revolve around updates or phone notifications of emails or facebook messages. I catch myself sometimes. But John is quick to remind me of what I miss out on.

Guess that was a kinda random thought for this post. Whatever. It was on my mind.

Here’s to a busy…happy…and exciting summer ahead.

An Easter To Remember….

Easter weekend was one I will never forget. A young woman I am privileged to call my little sister was welcomed into the Catholic Church. It was beautiful. It was very inspiring to witness. This young woman, after years of prayer and participation and study, chose this for her life. And what made it one of the most awesome things to witness wasn’t so much that she was becoming CATHOLIC, but that she had freely chosen something that brought her great happiness. She chose it on her own….she sought it out, studied, prayed, and took the leap of faith. I am inspired by this young woman.

After the Easter Vigil, many friends and family gathered to celebrate our newest member of the Church. And this is what we did. We sang. We sang. And we sang. For hours a rather large group sang with all their hearts.

I am grateful for such friends. I am grateful for Ellen’s leap of faith and her example. I am grateful for opportunities for fellowship. I am grateful for my own faith. And I am grateful for the Church. God is truly good. And this video makes me smile!!

No Secrets

Whenever I head back to my parents’ house for a visit I ask if I can bring anything.
“Cookies.” My parents never share the cookies I bring them. At Easter time I asked my mother how many batches of cookies I should make (there was a party we were going to). She told me “One. We’re not sharing. I’ll make something simple to bring.”
Okay.
Whenever someone does something kind for us John’s first thought is, “Theresa, make him/her a batch of cookies please.” Or if there is a potluck I am always asked to bring my cookies. One of my brothers gets sick if he eats chocolate (sad, I know) but he will risk the sickness for my cookies.
“What could possibly be so special about her cookies?” You ask.
And the answer is, “I have no idea.”
I’ve thought about not sharing the recipe. But then that would imply that it was something secret or exclusive when it isn’t. I got the recipe from a Betty Crocker Cookbook (Bridal Edition). I tweaked it a little. There are 2 little tiny “secrets” that I do for the recipe. I’ve decided to share them. After all, shouldn’t everyone have access and know how of such yumminess? Really, I love that everyone seems to drool over these cookies. I love that something as simple as chocolate chip cookies can bring such momentary happiness.

1c. butter
3/4c brown sugar
3/4c white sugar
1 egg
1tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt
1tsp vanilla
2 1/4c flour
1 bag chocolate chips

cook at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes

That’s it. Nothing special. Now, the two things I do to this recipe are:

1. use BUTTER. Use salted sweetcream butter. I like Crystal Farms.
2. add 1/2 tsp of almond extract. It brings out a richness in the cookies.

The dough might look clumpy or you might think it needs water or something. Don’t Do It. It will ruin the cookies. These cookies are rich and thick and oh so yummy. I’ve made them a million bazillion times and haven’t changed a thing. This recipe is tried and true.

OH….don’t forget the LOVE. Love makes every single thing so much better.

I Really Am Trying…..

“Yvette, put your dress down and act like a girl!”

“You mean like this, Mom?”
I really am trying with this one. She’s got a mind of her own though. Girlie Girlie – wearing dresses and tights almost every day. But when she does outside she insists on mud boots and jumping in the puddles (in her dress of course).