Musings from the Threshold

Category Archives: Blessings

October 27, 2011

The garden is almost done for the year. Last week we gathered a large harvest before the first freeze of the year.

The Blessings and I also spent about an hour covering tomato and pepper plants with sheets before that first freeze to try to protect them and give them a bit more time to mature the fruit they’ve been working so hard to produce since the intense heat cooled. What you see on that plate was the extent of our tomato harvest to the date of the picture, less three tomatoes. Impressive for the almost 50 tomato plants we planted in the spring, eh? Hot hot summer makes gardening interesting, anyway!

The long skinny peppers are Holy Moles (holey moleys). This is the second year we’ve grown them. They are prolific producers with varying degrees of heat. The first year, they were quite mild, while this year they packed a bit of a punch. I found this out after I’d taken them to fellowship lunch along with miscellaneus bell/banana peppers and assured everyone that I had only brought sweet peppers. Or not…
I canned five pints of Holy Moles (sliced) and a couple pints of banana peppers (a portion of this batch), but I haven’t gotten a picture of their loveliness yet.

Tonight after we got home from town, we did another pre-frost harvest, as it’s supposed to get down to 31. Here’s what Jonathan and the older Blessings gathered while I got Andrew ready for bed:

The tomatoes made a bit of progress in the mild week+ after the first freeze; hopefully these will ripen nicely inside.
The pitiful watermelons didn’t have time to mature, yet this is the best success we’ve had yet with watermelons. Maybe next year we’ll grow some that we, instead of the chickens, eat.

A couple of the little butternuts broke off at the stem and were cooked tonight… gorgeous, aren’t they?

Songs, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

We’re working on getting back in the habit of having a hymn and a Scripture song (or, occasionally, a chorus) that we sing daily each week. This springs from a desire to instill the great hymns of the faith and the Word of God into our children, and, thankfully, they all seem to enjoy it. I have been deeply blessed over the years as the Lord has used the words of hymns and Scripture songs to bring His truth to my mind in times of need, and I pray that this habit will be seed in the lives of our Blessings.

This week’s hymn is May the Mind of Christ My Savior. Such a wonderful prayer:

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.

May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.

Words: Kate B. Wil­kin­son, be­fore 1913; ap­peared in Gold­en Bells (Lon­don: Child­ren’s Spe­cial Ser­vice Miss­ion, 1925).

Music: St. Le­o­nards, Ar­thur C. Barham-Gould, 1925


A pdf of the sheet music can be found here.

Our Scripture song for the week is Romans 12.1-2:
I urge you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, *
that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good, acceptable and perfect.
(repeat to *)

What a Weekend!

Friday afternoon found us at the home of some new friends, for an enjoyable visit and (hopefully) an intake of the chicken pox. Our older Blessings have been exposed multiple times and have not yet broken out in the pox, but I keep trying whenever the opportunity arises. That doesn’t seem to be very often; Stephen had not been exposed previously in his four+ years. We shall see what the next few weeks bring.

Saturday afternoon, we had a wind turbine raising, complete with chili supper. Dad and Mom Smith joined us, as did James, Wendy, and Shay. We’re thankful for family help! I took scads of pictures:

We were gifted with some venison on Sunday evening, so Jonathan left our weekly pancake night to go pick it up, then spent quite a while removing the meat from the bones. I roasted the bones and have had bone broth simmering all day, about which I’m excited. I’m not certain yet how we will be processing the meat, but we are thrilled to have about thirty-five pounds of venison to deal with!

This and That

So, I left home late LAST Monday morning to go to a birth and haven’t blogged since, though I did start a post last Wednesday afternoon with this:

I left home late Monday morning to go to a birth. Got home late this morning. Intense physically, mentally, and most of all emotionally. Glad for my wonderful preceptors, for the safe arrival of a baby, and for the rock solid “knowing” that God is good. So thankful to be home and I can hardly wait to see my husband this evening. As I learn more in my midwifery journey, my thankfulness for the midwives who have blessed me by serving at my births increases exponentially. God is good. After the last couple of days, I am clinging to that knowledge.

Last week’s birth was quite the emotional ride, and between the swirl in my heart/brain and efforts to get back in the swing of things with my family, blogging just took a back seat. I’m hopeful to be back in the saddle again now.

Random news tidbits:
~ Davey and Barak started basketball practice this week. I’m excited about all they will learn this season, as it is their first time on an organized sports team.
~ School is going well these days. We are doing well with a forward-moving routine. Though I am still needing to tweak/add some things, I feel good overall about the learning we are accomplishing.
~ We bought a wind turbine and are having a Turbine Raising this Saturday. We are excited about this as a way to save some money on our electric and as a potential income source, as Jonathan is interested in installing them for others. It will be interesting to see how everything comes together.
~ I’m now walking five mornings a week with Bethany (when births allow). I’m hopeful the added days will help get me off of the mini-yo-yo I’ve been on with my weight loss/health journey. We’ll see what tomorrow’s weigh-in tells us!
~ Would you pray for some St Louis-area friends of ours, Brian, Allison, and one year old Henry? They were hit by a drunk driver Sunday night and Allison and Henry were both injured severely. They are out of ICU now, and there is a possibility Henry will be released today, which would result in the family being able to really be together for the first time since the accident. Allison is in a tremendous amount of pain, with a broken femur and her pelvis broken in multiple places. Please pray for them?
~ I had my first “missed” birth yesterday. Things went really fast at the end for this mom, and since the hospital was closer than our arrival, they went ahead and checked in and baby arrived before us. All is well with baby, and Mom and Dad are thrilled that they were able to have the best-for-baby birth for which they had hoped, despite the last minute change in plans. It was also nice for B. and I to have a positive hospital experience after last week.
~ And the big news in our house this week are some fun and exciting milestones for Andrew. He has 1)started standing by himself for several seconds at a time, and 2)signing “please” when prompted. The “please” is his first consistent intentional “verbal” communication, and we are hoping that it opens a whole new world for him. The other Blessings have really been working with him on signing, and our work is having results!

Here’s a cute shot of Andrew standing yesterday with his physical therapist, Dayna. She is actually not supporting him at all, though her hand is close. Yay for Andrew!

Sweet little man

Mr. Andrew hasn’t had much press time lately, has he?

As you can see, he is as adorable as ever. This was last week while Jonathan and the Blessings were doing some yard work. Andrew was apparently on tool duty.

We’ve been having a physical therapist come out and work with Andrew weekly since mid-summer (with a bit of a break due to the early ed. budget). He has made a great deal of progress developmentally, especially in his gross motor skills. He is now “cruising” around the house at warp speed, and enjoys finding pushable things to walk behind. He has gained a lot of confidence and strength.

We haven’t seen as much progress with his expressive language skills, as consonants are still quite rare, and he really has no “words list.” He does find ways to communicate his desires, though. (smile) He occasionally, in response to being told, “I love you,” makes a series of vowel sounds whose inflection and rythmn have a very close resemblence to “I love you.” Very precious. We are praying for wisdom in helping him with his verbal development.

Andrew is such a delightful part of our family. His smiles, hugs, playing, etc. are a blessing to all of us, and we think he is totally splendid! While we want to help him in his development, we are so content and blessed with who he is.

Today, Little Man could use your prayers. He has what might be a spider bite on his knee. It is pretty inflamed and sore. We are treating it with poultices and salve, supporting his immune system nutritionally, and keeping a close eye on it. Of extra concern are four additional spots that look very much like the spot on his knee did yesterday morning. Prayer for his comfort and our wisdom would be treasured.

So there’s a bit of an update on our little guy, darling that he is. Thanks for checking in!

Here’s the Thing…

We have been working on getting some steady forward motion in our schooling. The State Fair put a bit of a kink in our efforts, but this week we are getting down to business again. I was feeling extremely frustrated and overwhelmed this morning, at which point I generally start thinking we need to switch this or that about what we are doing for school. Or that I am just a failure as a home schooling mom. I called Jonathan in anguish and told him all the things I needed him to tell me. In detail. Things like: It’s only the second day back at working on a new daily routine, and I shouldn’t expect everything to be perfect from the start; it’s more about being consistant than about having the “perfect” system/curriculum/schedule; really, it WILL be okay. And so on. He’s so patient with me.

Continuing to think and pray after talking with Jonathan, I was convinced even more that what we truly need is to reduce distractions and Just Do It. Every weekday, unless there is a true emergency. Yes, educating at home is wonderful because there are so many opportunities for learning outside of book work. But, if my children are not able to keep their checkbooks balanced because we were too busy with other fun learning experiences, then I will have not done my job.

So, after chatting with the principal upon his arrival home from work, here’s the plan: School is in session every Monday – Friday of every week for at least the next month, so that we can truly get a routine established. That means grocery shopping, library trips, etc. have to happen evenings/weekends. That means yard jobs for the boys have to be done after school work is finished for the day. Until the apples come in and we go crazy with apples for a few days, we are going to be being very intentional and focused about getting a good groove established. And after apples, it’s back to business.

Hopefully, as time goes by, we will be able to be more flexible again. But we’ve had too much flex for too long, and it’s time to get busy!

A New Habit

Tap Tap Tap… is anyone still out there?

If only you could read the blog posts that happen in my head…

But you can’t, so I’d best get back to typing them out.

So, the new habit I’m committing to is 15 minutes a weekday to blog whatever I manage to spit out in that time.

I’m crazy-far behind.

The Kansas State Fair started last Friday, and it we spent eight hours walking around the Fair. Get in before 11 on the first day = free. Ten people families are all about free. It was such a joy to be at the Fair again. It is something that I keenly missed each September we were away, and most of our Blessings had no memories of it. I believe I wore a goofy grin the better part of those eight hours.

We went again Monday afternoon (Dollar Day) with Dad and Mom Smith and Grandma Hall. Not as long a visit, but it was fun and memorable. Midway rides were 1 ticket per ride, so the Blessings each got to pick a ride. Tight budgets make every treat sweeter. I rode the ferris wheel with Ellie, Josiah, Kate, and Grace, and it was a delight to see their varied reactions. Kate = giggles of joy! Davey and Barak rode the Starship, the one where it spins fast enough to stick you to the wall. I also rode Stephen’s ride with him, one of the little roller coasters – he loved it.

Jonathan and I will be working the Sterling Alumni booth tomorrow, and will get to have a bit of a date night afterwards. Davey and Barak have been working at the Dairy Bar during the Fair, which is good experience for them, and they’re looking forward to the paycheck.

Jonathan just started back to work this Wednesday after three weeks unpaid leave due to severe tendonitis. He is seeing a new chiropractor now and we are encouraged about the results. In the meantime, our Heavenly Father has been providing for us wonderfully through His “hands and feet.”

I’ve now been blessed to attend three births as the apprentice of two dear midwives from whom I am learning a great deal. I’m also learning from the mamas/families/babies. This apprenticeship seems to be working well for our family at this time, for which I am deeply thankful. I am without-words-thankful for Jonathan’s total support of me in pursuing this at this time. I am beyond blessed.

We put up almost 3 bushels of peaches last month, mostly just sliced peaches, but quite a few pints of peach butter, Earl Grey peach preserves, and a batch of “plain” peach preserves that turned out to be peach topping because I didn’t cook it long enough (it’s fabulous on waffles/pancakes).

My online timer seems to be malfunctioning, so I think I’ve snuck in more than my 15 minutes. (sneaky chuckle) Off to bed!

Family Demolition Project

And no, I don’t mean demolishing families!

The first significant rain in our area for well over a month arrived on August 3, and with it came winds that were fiercer than I, in my rain-induced euphoria, realized. Two buildings at Jonathan’s work were destroyed by the winds, and the insurance assessor came out and ruled them a total loss, which meant that Sturdi-Bilt could not salvage any of the materials.

But guess who could??

So yesterday evening, the Blessings and I met Jonathan at work and J and the older boys proceeded to disassemble the buildings, which were three-sided shelters intended for animals. There were two large piles that had been gathered, and I unfortunately didn’t get a demonstrative “before” shot:

Jonathan, Davey, Barak, and Josiah did almost all the hard labor, with Stephen and I carrying the occasional board.

Most of the time, the rest of us sat around watching the piles of metal siding and boards get taller.

Tonight the fellas picked up the materials we were bringing home (we sold the metal siding last night to a guy who came to look at storage barns). We’re thankful for a nice pile of 2x4s, 2x6s, etc. Way to go, guys!