Time for a This-and-That

House stuff – we’re making progress! The main living areas are pretty much settled, except the library, which needs a ton of work (floor patched so that we can put up bookcases in a currently unusable corner, lots of books to unpack, etc). We are loving our expanded space, and are so thankful. Really, truly, I will get more pictures posted soon.

The garden is coming along. Slower than we’d like, but the ground is ready for planting now, so once the fence is complete, we can get some goodies growing. I did get peas planted this last week, and we lined up tomato cages along the row to protect them from the chickens. The chickens are the reason we need the fence; they adore scratching up seeds that I have planted. For instance, this afternoon I went out and planted some morning glories at the base of the windmill. I had more seeds than I could use there, so I went to the other side of the house, planted some near the garden, and watered them. When I got back to water the seeds by the windmill, the chickens had already decimated the area. Perhaps some will come up despite them. But you can see why we don’t want to plant the garden until it is fenced!

We will also be planting some things out in the yard, as the actual garden area is pretty small. Tomatoes and peppers will be in cages, and we hope to have our winter squash fenced in another area of the yard. Summer squash might fit in the main garden, but we’ll see.

Settling in to the neighborhood is a fun experience. Our closest neighbor, Bethany, has been a friend of ours for almost four years now and helped lead us to this house. She lives with her aunt, who is super sweet and has come over a couple of times to visit. Another aunt and uncle live on the other side of Bethany, and came to meet us/bring us a meal soon after we moved in. We’re looking forward to getting to know more folks in the immediate area as time goes by.

We are out in the country in between a tiny town and a shopping/business area, and are about 15 minutes from Hutchinson. It has much more of a “country” feel than where we used to live, and at the same time is closer to town. It is also closer to work for Jonathan, who is working for a company in the aforementioned shopping/business area that builds storage buildings/barns. What a blessing to be only a few minutes from work! He is working long hard days, and is adjusting to working for someone else again after almost 6 years of being self employed. I’m so thankful for his hard work and diligence.

It has been a blessing to be back fellowshipping with folks who are dear to us and who have known us most of our lives. There are actually three meetings in Hutch where we might have landed, each of which has many folks who meet the above description, but we feel that we have “landed” where we should be.

We had an educational and fun experience yesterday. A small town nearby has a monthly “poultry sale,” and we are eager to get some guineas to eat our ticks, so we headed out there yesterday. Many of the sellers and buyers are Amish or Mennonite, so there were many tractors pulling truck-bed trailers or horse trailers behind them (these are locally considered an acceptable alternative to a buggy or car for family transportation). There were rows of animals in small cages in the sale area, and we learned that it was an auction, not the type of seller-to-buyer type sale we were expecting. We filled out our registration, got our number, and set out to learn the ropes.

The auctioneer moved up and down the rows of animals and other merchandise, and folks would bid on each item in turn. There were lots of poultry – chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guineas, peacocks – of varying ages. There were eggs for hatching and eggs for eating. Also for sale were an interesting variety of other animals and merchandise – goats, sheep, horses, ponies, cages of all sizes, buckets, fencing, even a hammock.

We had no idea what it would be like; we forgot the cage we were going to bring for transport; and the poultry seemed to go for a good bit more than we expected. Perhaps we were just being cheap, but we decided to mostly observe. Jonathan did bid on some guineas, but other folks though they were more dear than he did. Adding interest to the day were the 30-50 mph winds, which sent some of the Blessings back to the van to wait after walking around a bit. Over all, it was a very interesting and fun learning experience. We’re certainly planning on going again.

On a personal note, my weight-loss efforts have been greatly abetted by a great website, sparkpeople.com. When I started with them on 3/26, I had gotten down to 8 pounds under my pre-pregnancy (with Andrew) weight. I’ve taken off an additional 13ish pounds as of yesterday’s weigh-in. SP is totally free, has tons of helpful tools, and it is helping me make lifestyle changes, not just diet. I think the biggest impact has been from tracking every thing I eat and exercising more, and their tools have been a tremendous help in that. It also is a terrific encouragement that two dear Missouri friends are also on sparkpeople and inspire and encourage me.

By way of disclaimer, sparkpeople does not “allow” nursing moms to use the site, and, at the risk of the SP police coming after me, I will admit that I skipped that box when I registered. They want to avoid promoting weight loss at cost to babies, and I appreciate that! Not all moms are well enough educated nutritionally to be trying to lose weight while nursing a baby. I didn’t sign up with them until Andrew was almost 11 months old and eating solids in addition to nursing. I also aim for the upper end of my “calorie range” to insure that I’m getting enough. If I’m hungry, I eat. I am motivated by tracking my food to eat stuff that is good for us, instead of just filling. That’s how I’m making it work for me and Andrew. I think I’m honestly giving him much better nutrition now than I was before I started SP, when I was still eating way too much junk. Also, I will not eat fake “low fat” food. If the real thing is worth the calories, I eat it. If not, I don’t. (*steps away from her “fake food” soapbox before she gets wound up). I don’t want to encourage moms toward weight loss that in a way that is going to cost their precious babies the nutrition they need. Nourishing babies with good quality milk is soooo much more important than losing weight.

While I’m sure I’m leaving out many things that have been on my mental blog-about list, this hopefully gives you a little taste of our “new” life. No pictures, but they’re coming!

Multitude Monday, on Tuesday

I was reading in Psalms this morning and these verses popped out at me:
“Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God. Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; your burnt offerings are continually before me. I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”
Psalm 50:7-15,23

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 51:15-17

But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.
Psalm 52:8-9

Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good.
Psalm 54:4,6

I was also reminded of this passage (one of my favorite Scripture songs):
Therefore David blessed the LORD in the presence of all the assembly. And David said:
“Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.”

1 Chronicles 29:10-14

Gifts #470 – 500
Hazy mornings
Memories in dishes
A walk in the dark
Paint approved!
A lovely home to organize
Boy who loves to bounce
Sunshine on windowsill
Eucharisteo – thanksgiving making time
More than enough
Pages turning
Little man squealing joy
The sacrifice of thanksgiving
Blessings learning gratitude
Resuming routine
Learning/discovering the new routine
Reading through Passion Week
Servant-love from the Maker of the universe
He washes me!
He uttered not a word
Resurrection Sunday breakfast and fellowship

The joy of watching children play

Spring flowers that remind of new life
A late garden
Lessons in perseverance
Encouragement from my man
Book suggestions
Opportunities to “be called sons of God”
Little boy squeezes
Aching hands – a reminder of limits

The House: First Looks

Here are some of our first pictures of our new home. The first few were taken the very first time we saw the house, the rest when Jonathan came down a month later for some job interviews. All are welcome to view the pictures, but I realize there are way too many for some folks’ taste.

Many thanks

Gifts #437 – 469

~ Weeds pulled and ground cleared
~ A big blooming lilac bush
~ Sweet fellowship and prayer meeting
~ A Bogey’s-inspiring night (even without the Bogey’s)
~ Getting stronger
~ Walking with my love in the KS moonlight
~ Gala apples
~ Some work for Jonathan
~ The faith-journey of waiting for more
~ Rising early and preparing for the day with my man
~ A little nap after he has gone
~ Josiah and Andrew playing
~ Cold brew coffee
~ A beautiful moonset
~ Watching squirrel activity by silhouette in the sunrise
~ Early morning breakfast and chat with J
~ Being up and at ’em before the Blessings
~ A house so quiet I can hear the birds outside with the doors & windows closed (chilly morning)
~ Safety in the crazy strong wind
~ Adventuring children
~ Anticipation to learn what the Father has in store for us
~ Being challenged in my thinking
~ 10 pounds gone since 3/8
~ Memories being made by our children – Remember the time P. smashed the rotten egg with the bat and it splattered all over us? Then the moms wouldn’t let us come inside because we stunk so horribly?
~ 12 miles
~ A weekend retreat for the older boys
~ A singing chapel
~ Birds building nests
~ The intense heart-pain of beloved places in a state of dreadful disrepair*
~ The question – what are we to do?
~ Budding vision… KFM?
~ Time to scratch out thanks and read the Love Letter
~ A season to focus on His life-giving death and resurrection (A simple resource for your Passion Week right here)

*The hard thanks

Multitude Monday

Finally sitting down to scratch out thanks (Gifts #376-436) with:
The Kansas wind in my hair and
The chatter of a myriad of birds around me
“Interruptions” from dog and dear daughter
Sunshine and shade
Cardboard and tape to shelter our stuff
Overabundance and the revelation of need for still more purging
Friends and family to help pack/load
The early discovery of a purse left behind
Mom S’s gracious retrieval of said purse
Returning from truck pick-up to find a clean and packed kitchen
Hard-working Blessings, both ours and others’
Last night there and first night here – in my own bed
Safety and speed for our caravan of moving trucks and personal vans
The absence of dog vomit on a 10 hour drive
Safe transport of (and subsequent egg laying from) our chickens
Blue skies and fluffy clouds on unloading day
Friends, both old and new, to help us unload
The watchful eyes of my husband, being sure I don’t hurt my back
Visit from extended family (with pizza!) our first evening here
An array of new plant to learn about/care for
Fruit trees/bushes
Anticipation of harvesting the fruit
A beautiful rental property
A house with lots of room
Closets with shelves
J taking care of essentials before returning to Missouri
Family picnic and walk
The discovery of sand hill plums
The steadfastness of my man in returning to MO to finish work for Lowe’s and on the house
Sacrificial love from Tina and Sue in cleaning up my homemaking/cleaning failures
That those precious ladies still love me!
A week here focused on unpacking/settling
Kitchen floor found
Internet connected
Several days without distraction
Getting back to serious about losing weight and getting stronger
Companions on my health journey (made close due to the wonder of internet)
Inspiration from a hard-working friend devoted to getting healthier
Strong backs to fill in for my weak one
Visits from friends
Welcome from new neighbors (and food!)
Jehovah-Jireh – He does provide!
Perfectly timed (see above) visit and ride to town from Cheryl
Walks with my Blessings
Their growing appreciation for Kansas beauty
Trip to a “swap” for reconnecting with friends
And afternoon with the Asberrys
Tears of joy over hearing our children laugh and play together
Years of longing coming to fulfillment
The safe return of my man
Not sleeping alone
Walking/talking/planning around the property together
Common goals and interests
A great exercise-walk in the wind of a coming storm
Watching the storm system develop from miles away
The cats recovered and brought to our new home
Fellowship with friends at chapel
Good food deals @ Aldi’s
A long Sunday afternoon nap
Sounds of my man working
A quiet inner call to count gifts

We’re Here!

We loaded up trucks on March 30…

drove to our new home in southcentral Kansas on the 31st…

and unloaded trucks on April 1st.

We were blessed by a fabulous amount of help from loving friends and family on both ends of our journey, and are so very thankful.

Jonathan spent this week back in Missouri, finishing up work for Lowe’s and working on our old house. Tina and Sue had come and cleaned the house, shaving many hours off of his work time there (thank you again, dear ones!). Alan came out and helped one evening, and Dad and Mom Smith made a big contribution to finishing up things at the old place – thank you! Jonathan got home in the wee hours of the morning this morning, and we are all thrilled to have him back.

The Blessings and I spent the week organizing and unpacking boxes and getting a little bit settled – they are wonderful helpers. We had visits from friends several times, and got to meet some of our neighbors (who brought us food!). And we took some lovely walks.

It has been a joy to see the Blessings’ growing appreciation for the beauty of this area which is so dear to their parents’ hearts. For instance, one evening Katie and I walked out in the field to see the sunset. She took a deep breath and sighed out, “I just love the open land.” Me too, sweet one. Me too.

While we all are missing our Missouri friends, it is also a joy to begin to reconnect with friends from the area. Many folks we haven’t yet gotten to see, but it’s a blessing to move and to already have a network of familiar faces, and friends eager to help and fellowship. Becki and I got all teary yesterday hearing our children laugh and play… so many years of missing each other and longing for our children to grow up together.

There will be more pictures in the coming weeks, I’m sure, but here’s a glimpse of our new place from when you turn into the driveway.