inspiration from a small farm with a big heart

Posts tagged “Family

Our Own Garden of Eden

Many of the families we know garden, or would like to garden, or shop at the farmers market or buy fruits and vegetables. My point is that there is something about growing food that connects us to the earth and to God.

We are all searching for the truth. What God created this world for and why he chose to put us in it. By hanging on to growing our own food we somehow get reconnected to the original “work” of human life.

But the truth is that doesn’t exist anymore. Maybe that’s why we struggle to get along sometimes? Our vision of that garden is different. We have a hard time accepting each others gardens.

Nathan and I have talked about what our garden is. It’s true that we grow fruits and vegetables (not organically, I’ll add). But we truly believe that the fruit of our labors comes from our children. We have chosen to have many children, give birth at home and live life alongside them whenever possible. This is our garden. We believe God comes to us in the evening when we are living in this garden.

It is a garden of hard work and efforts that seem unnatural at times. But we know that when the harvest is over that we will see the fruits of our labors sent out to create their own fruit.  What may appear as lost dreams, shriveled opportunities and worn bodies will be memories of our time and gifts to the greatest gifts we’ll ever be given.  We will finish walking in our garden together and maybe get some rest!

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Faith in Childbirth

 

Pregnancy is often a time of joy and anticipation for women and their families. But it can become a time of fear and confusion, fear of the un-known and possible complications. These fears can only be overcome by having faith in your body, your birth team and, for many, having faith in God. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, faith has a place in the birth process. In whom or what do you put your faith is a question that all women have to answer during the time of pregnancy.
“empowered by my faith”
During my first pregnancy, I was full of fear and doubt. I was a faithful person in many ways but didn’t really connect that faith to my pregnancy and birth experience. Just listening to other women’s stories, watching television birth programs and reading pregnancy “how to” books created a profound sense of confusion and fear. Later in life, I was blessed with more children and was empowered by my faith in both God and his design for birth. Surrounding myself with other women and families who shared powerful stories of blessings and peace during birth gave me encouragement.

Nurturing Faith
Waiting for the birth of a child often causes couples to reflect on who they are and who they want to become. They begin to evaluate all areas of their lives including finances, schedules, health habits, priorities and faith.

“make choices in love rather than fear”

 
Having faith in childbirth does not mean that everything will always go according to plan. Nor does the way you choose to give birth prove your level of faith. Rather, bringing faith to the experience alters your approach to the entire pregnancy and birth. As in all areas of life there are often challenges and unexpected circumstances, focusing on faith allows you to make choices in love rather than fear.

Ways to Bring Faith to Birth
~listen to inspirational songs

~pray for the new child and peace in the birth process

~create artwork that reminds you of your faith

~gain knowledge about the birth process to increase your faith in how you were created

Empowering Families
Pregnancy can be a time of great reflection and dynamic change for not only the mother, but also the entire family. Many couples look to the church during this time and often begin spiritual growth like never before. It is also a time for couples to strengthen their relationship through communication and acts of service for one another.
Relying on faith during labor and birth, dispels fear and creates an environment for peace. Removing fear decreases the amount of tension and stress that a woman has during childbirth. This will allow a woman to relax and cope with the challenges that childbirth present. A woman who has educated her self with the birth process and her options will be confident and secure with the decisions she makes.

Creating Peace in Birth
~learn and practice movements and positions that will be helpful during labor
~take time to experiment with methods that will decrease stress and tension: massage, candles, music, water or even silence
~communicate openly and honestly to make sure that any issues or concerns are discussed before labor begins
~use your birthing time to reflect the love and respect you want to teach your child


Creating Community
Throughout history women have been assisting other women during childbirth. Laboring women need nurturing and mothering so they can go deep inside themselves to find their inner strength. While my husband provided physical strength, I, like other women had a need for another woman to offer a gentle touch or a word of encouragement. For this reason it was important for me to hire a birth doula and attend faith based childbirth classes with other families.
“Laboring women need nurturing and mothering…”

 
After finding very few faith focused childbirth options in this area Heather Vernon and I established Knitted Together Childbirth Services. We will be offering childbirth classes, doula services and community outreach to the South Central Kentucky area. Our mission is to offer a perspective that helps women and families to grow in their faith during pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. We do not pretend to have all of the answers but we will help you focus on the right questions.


The Home Birth of Adaline Mercy


Family Update

It’s been a while since I’ve written about our everyday life and the things that we are doing as a family.  Before our sweet little girl arrives I thought I would just take some time to document some of the ways that God has been working in our lives.

I hosted and attended a doula training in March.  What I originally thought might be 3 or 4 of my friends joining me turned into 19 women being trained to support other women during the joy of childbirth! 

A couple of days after the doula training I attended my first birth.  It was an absolutely amazing, beautiful natural birth that ended with the babies father welcoming his son into the world with prayer.

And shortly after that I attended another birth.  It was another beautiful, natural birth with the mother being surrounded by the women who love her.

We are back at SKY Farmers Market this year.  Selling Heirloom tomatoes, Cantaloupe, Watermelon and Sweet Corn!

The kids life experiences continue to be our top priority.  Homeschooling has been such a good fit for our family.  Rather than focusing on a scheduled school time we have really evaluated how we spend all of our time.  We spend more quality time together doing things that build relationships, teach real life applications and strengthen our relationship with Jesus and all of his people.

Art

Music

History

Exploring

Playing

Homeschool Co-Op

Working

and now Waiting…


Advent Conspiracy

Interested in slowing down and enjoying this Christmas season?  

Watch This Video

One of the ways that our family is slowing down, spending more time together and putting our focus on our savior’s birth is by making  gifts for those we love.  We are upcycling some of our favorite things into something special and new.

Upcycled Crayons

Preheat Oven to 200 degrees.  Peel and Break Crayons.

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Spray pan with cooking spray.  Fill to the top with broken crayons.

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Place in oven until crayons are melted.  You may have to add a few crayons.

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Allow crayons to cool and seperate from pan.

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Kids love banging the crayons out of the pan!

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Put a smile on someone’s face!

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Upcycled Shirts

Any t-shirt will work.  Find an item you would like to scan or a photo from the internet.

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Print the image (you can always increase or decrease the size)

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Cut out the image

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Use template to cut out felt patterns.  Add embellishments if you want.

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Sew onto the shirt with embroidery floss.

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Other Shirt Ideas

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I am sure that washing on a delicate cycle or by hand would be the best method.  But we just throw all of our clothes into the same wash with no problem!

Upcycled Clocks

Select an item to upcycle into a clock…the possibilities really are endless.  You can buy clock mechanisms for around $5 or use one out of a used clock (goodwill and grandma’s attic have them for less than $1)

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Remove the clock mechanism, the pieces just pop apart!

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Use the center of the old clock to determine which size drill bit to use.

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If making a book and you want it to close, you can cut a square out for the base of the clock mechanism.

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Snap all of the pieces back into place.  You have a clock!

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Coming Soon!

Buy & Sell on Ebay

Thrifting for Gifts

Have Kids and Save Money


Finding Our Gilgal

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I love how Beth Moore’s brain works, I imagine it is a lot like mine, except that I don’t have all of those scriptures floating around in there, although I am working on that…very…slowly…working on that.  It gives me hope to compare my life experiences to those in the bible that messed up but saw God at work in their life.  Reminds me that I am flesh and all of the people around me are flesh.  The truth is that we screw up, hurt each other, struggle to make up and then usually do it all over again.  The problem is that if you stay in the cycle of defeat you may find deliverance as Moses did, but you will never get to the promised land-your Gilgal, as the Israelites finally did after decades of defeat.

Nathan and I have recently found our Gilgal and while I know we won’t be permanently residing here, I do believe that God has given us the answers so we can finally pass the test.  He wants us to live our marriage the way he designed it.

Now I have to add that Nathan and I have a wonderfully blessed marriage.  We work really hard to meet each others needs and are very focused on keeping our priorities straight.  But the truth is that we both came to our marriage as, well, humans.  Our own selfishness and limitations can and do rise to the surface from time to time.  Like most couples, I imagine, we have periods of greatness where everything seems to be going really well.  We are communicating with each other like civilized adults, spend lots of time snuggling, catching each others eye from the other side of the room.

And then…

You know what happens.  Someone gets their feelings hurt (usually me), or someone gets the bank statement (not usually me) and things just aren’t as peachy anymore.  It’s amazing how quickly this can happen too.  All of a sudden I am doing my regular chores with the energy of a triathlon and the attitude of a three year old.  And at this point anything he says is going to make me upset.  We were both failing the test.

While we did have more days in that state of marital bliss we did have more days than we would like to admit in the (D-) category.  One morning when we were not communicating very well we both stood there staring at each other.  We didn’t want to hurt each other so we both realized that we better not say anything at all.  We were at a moment of testing, but we didn’t want to fail anymore.  We wanted to believe, in each other, in what God wanted for us.  We both prayed to ourselves and God showed up.

So we found ourselves days from our 7th anniversary going to marriage counseling at our church.  We discovered what we already knew.  Men and women are different and that is okay, God created us that way.  We were given the tools (answers to the test) to communicate in a healthy way.  And told that it would be hard at first and require a lot of practice, again we figure that would be the case. 

But then we were told something that we had not really thought about before.  As we have been chugging along in life we weren’t exactly  headed in the same direction.  I was headed North at warp speed and Nathan was enjoying a slow stroll South.  We needed to decide where we wanted to go together as a couple and as a family.  So together we worked on our goals and plans for the future.  We shared the life experiences that we hoped to have and the things we didn’t want to miss on the journey.  We talked, cried, shared our biggest hopes and dreams.  As partners in our marriage we created a roadmap in which we can direct every decision, commitment and activity of our lives.  And on our 7th anniversary Nathan hand wrote the Howell Family Vision and brought it to me with a bouquet of flowers.  We had found directions to our Gilgal.

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Only As God brings us full circle and breaks the cycle of failure we have been working on for so long can we finally start believing in Gods ability to work in our marriages.  We begin to see what he originally intended for man and wife and that he must be the center of our marriage for us to get there.  Now we won’t always be in Gilgal, I realize that, but now that we have seen it and have the map to get there we can come back more quickly than ever before.


In Gods Word

41kFAiJ2XDL._SL210_I have met a couple of very dear friends through the internet, mostly through my original blog {fresh floral art}.  While I realize that the internet is not a place to seek and invest great amounts of time on friendships I do believe that God brings people together, even online.  My friend Sarah is one of those people.  We challenge one another, pray for each others children and provide honest feedback for each other when we need it.  While we may never meet IRL (in real life), we look forward to the day when we greet each other in heaven and chat about our homeschooling ventures over coffee (that’s how it plays out in our head anyway).

Sarah is my friend I go to when I am trying to streamline and organize my life.  Her latest advice came from a need for a simple way for me and the kids to study the bible every day.  Through the bible with my child is the perfect addition to our curriculum.  It is set up so that you study the entire bible every four years and it can be repeated several times during a child’s homeschool experience.  It also includes questions and writing supplements.  While I may order the book so I can hold it in my hands, I started by downloading it HERE.