Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Welcome to Iowa + the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

This was my view this morning as I drove down our country road. 

Gorgeous fog, gorgeous golden corn, gorgeous skies. Its Iowa, y'all. Those who think this isn't beautiful? They just don't understand.  

It is Iowa country in its full glory. And this is the most wonderful time of the year, because harvest just started! (insert confetti bursts and happy dances all around) Harvest time, my friends, is beyond exciting. The hum of the combine and the sound of corn filling the wagons are some of my favorites. The smell of a freshly combined field is one I could breathe in anytime, anywhere. The constant activity on our farm of tractors/combine coming and going is exhilarating. I love love LOVE it.

It has been an amazing year. Full of travel, adventure, and God stretching me in so many new ways. I am so grateful for all of His provision + guidance. I wouldn't trade the past nine months for anything. 

But I will admit that the current job of putting away the concert clothes/gear and preparing for all things fall and harvest is filling me with this wild joy of a little child. 

Because for the next three months I'm going to glory in the joy of being a country girl and living life on this beautiful farm I call home. And that, my pretty awesome. =)

What's your favorite thing about fall?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Typical Day Before Leaving On Tour

This post title is somewhat deceiving, because absolutely no two "day-before-leaving-on-tour" days are the same. It is quite crazy, the different things that come up every time and leave us shaking our heads wondering "and WHY did this have to happen today of ALL days?"

So no two days of these are alike. But I thought I'd still share with you what that "day before leaving" CAN look like. Since this is our last tour of the year and I was thinking about how it is also the last big packing day of the year, I thought it would be an appropriate time to do a post like this.
 I didn't include pictures of all of us gathered in the kitchen at lunchtime packing and eating simultaneously. 
Or each of us taking load after load after load to the bus.
Or making the bus bunks, loading the freezer/refridgerator, filling the water bay, cleaning out and restocking the front bays, cleaning the house, finishing the laundry, etc etc etc.

And now, I take you back to last Thursday...(we left on Friday)
Thursday started out with a messy bedroom, a messy ponytail, comfort clothes, and no makeup. 
(except for mascara. always mascara) 
When I went to apply my makeup I discovered that I had left some of it in the truck the night before (don't even ask why it was with me in the truck in the first place!) and since my dad and brother had taken the truck early that morning to deliver cattle, that makeup wasn't going to be an option. I was short on time anyways so I decided to just nix the whole process except of course for aforementioned mascara. Because KEEP CALM AND WEAR MASCARA.
Moving on....
 The bedroom. On packing days it always gets worse before it gets better. This picture was taken at some point in the process.
I love packing. Absolutely ADORE it. Even though at heart I am ultimately a homebody, still I have always had the love of travel in my bones.
Because traveling is adventure---heading out into the wide wide world. And I love adventure.

Packing can take anywhere from a certain number of hours to another certain number of hours.
No, I am not going to divulge the time it takes to pack. It varies quite a bit from time to time.
And besides. Certain information should stay personal, I think. =)
Packing for oneself is one thing. Packing five different coordinating outfits for a family of twelve is another. Whilest in the midst of the piles of dress clothes EVERYWHERE, I suddenly had a revelation.
"Why can't everyone pack THEIR OWN?"
It's not like we are back in the days when half of us were babies and couldn't pack for ourselves.
No. We have twelve responsible, law abiding citizens (ahem-most of the time!) that are all over eight years of age and SHOULD be able to pack their own concert clothes.
So I switched from plan a to plan B, which involved going to the computer and printing off the above chart.
I added certain stipulations with relish. =)
A) I think God placed me as the oldest to help the siblings learn to keep deadlines (ha!)
B) Something really needed to be done to change the system (or lack thereof)
C) I can always use more coffee $$ (yes please!)
Y'all. I just have the sweetest siblings ever. These gems had their clothes packed early but left some love for me anyway. 
Shipshewana Davis Mercantile Coffee Shop, coming right up this week! =)
Along with packing, and packing, and more packing...the day before leaving on tour is, as was previously mentioned, always filled with all sorts of extra projects that just "happen" to have to come up on that busiest of all days.
To name a few...
*The basil was beginning to go into seed, and there was a very good chance it might get hit with frost while we were gone. So I headed up my own personal pesto campaign, making pesto and drying additional basil in extremely large increments.
*The brotherhood went hunting. Which was probably not the wisest thing to do, since past studies have PROVEN time and time again that they can hunt for WEEKS before a tour and not get a thing, BUT if they go out on the day before leaving...they honestly get a deer every.single.time. It is positively uncanny how that works.
So sure enough, Denver got a deer. Which meant that now there was a deer to be butchered, and jerky to be made.
*The apple trees were producing in abundance, but unfortunately quite a few of the apples were spotty which meant they had to be frozen or canned immediately. Also the four cases of pears which had just arrived from our coop were not in good condition, which meant that they had to be put in the freezer immediately too!

And then there were all those little things like the fact that my washer wasn't working properly, which means that washing a load of laundry takes longer than the normal 55minutes. And several things in the bus were left unattended after our last tour so now the whole place smelled much less than desirable so there was extra cleaning and attention required to get everything back in the preferred state of livableness.

And that's a little inside peek of the craziness of "day before leaving". Hope you enjoyed! Would love to hear your thoughts in the comment box!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Essential Oils||A Free Online Class!

Today we are talking about essential oils here! Ah, I love oils. They are incredible and I am looking forward to sharing this info with y'all!

I have been a huge fan of oils for years. My family was on the "oils bandwagon" long before they hit the general population and became more of a current trend. We use them all the time. Peppermint for head/neck tension, lavender for soothing, citrus for clean air scent, pain away for just that, thieves for everything....that's just to name a few of the ones we've been using the longest. 

The thing about oils is that they aren't just in and out like so many fads. They actually WORK. Once you start using them they really change the way you deal with health issues + wellness. After using oils for 5+ years I cannot imagine not having them around.  I love them so much that I seriously was considering joining the Young Living team and becoming a consultant with them this spring. Unfortunately at the moment my life is just too full to successfully do yet another thing, so for a variety of reasons, that being the main one, I chose to just continue as a user. But...any chance I get I am telling people about oils and encouraging them to get started using them, because they are amazing!

I am so excited today because my friend Nicole Neesby is putting together a simple "Intro To Oils" class, and I am teaming up with her by letting all of y'all, my friends, know about it! Whether you are a oils fanatic or have never heard of Young Living in your life, I really think you will enjoy the class and I highly encourage you to join. Its very easy to listen in via your computer or phone, and its free! So whats to lose, right?

Nicole will be covering common questions like "what are essential oils", "who is young living", and "how to get started". (Note: She is a fantastic speaker and also very passionate about Young Living Oils, which is an awesome combination that promises a great class experience for y'all!)
Also, there will be a drawing in which all class attendants will be entered to win a free bottle of thieves spray. (yay for giveaways!) 

So. The info! Its super easy! All you need to do is leave a comment in the comment box below with your email address. Nicole will then email you the class details. You will want to comment asap, as the class will be held Tuesday night, September 29th, @ 8pm! If you are unable to join on Tuesday night, there will be a link available for you to watch the class video for several days after.

I hope many of you are able to join with us for this class! I know you will love it!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Crazy Sistas + Big Eyes

I am feeling like this post is complete with just the picture, and adding nothing in the way of words, except maybe this quote from Red Riding Hood: "My, what BIG EYES you have."
And the picture? That was just us being crazy the other day, as usual...

Ah, how I love the sisterhood. These girls are the awesomest of all and I love them so dearly.

Today's post is random in the extreme, but I had a few random pictures that I felt like randomly posting. So. =) Welcome to a random installment of sisterhood pictures from the past few months!
If you have sistas, and you love them...then go tell them so! =)

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Monday + Me

Just popping in tonight with an invitation to y'all to come join me + my family @ our farm on Monday for our Annual Turning Hearts Celebration!  It has been a crazy week preparing + I'm really hoping lots of you come! 

I was planning to post something else here tonight but to be 100% honest, I am very nearly falling asleep sitting here typing. So I'm going to keep it short + sweet with this, and hope y'all understand. =) If you want to see a little bit of what has been keeping my family + me busy this past month, visit the post I did on our family blog here. Also I will have a "Life Lately" for y'all next week with a little bit of whats been happening in my life as of late.

Just for the record. I don't think this new "Blog three times per week" thing is going to agree with my schedule very well. =/ It has already been a bit of a challenge! If y'all want something to pray about, than pray that the Lord would help me to come up with ideas of things to blog/articles to write that will take less than three hours each! My head is SWIMMING with ideas (always is, haha! waaay too many ideas and not enough time!!) but TIME is the issue. It is a little tricky trying to run a blog like a business (scheduled + organized) when in reality I already have a full time job!

Have a fabulous weekend, friends!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Doubt or Faith?

{This is a short and simple post. But this quote has just blessed me like none other today, and I hope it can bless someone else as well}

Doubt just messes things up! If it is a truth that Jesus gave you, and showed you, and you "planted in faith", than just don't even go there when the doubt creeps in. Stand on His promises---they will always last.

Don't dig up in doubt what you planted in faith, friend. Stand on that faith.
And don't give the doubt a second chance.

Happy Wednesday! 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Why I'm Thankful for Dirty Fingernails

This might be one of my most glamorous blog header shots ever, friends. =)

In reality, it is maybe one of my most realistic header shots ever.

This is Life 101 on a working farm. The dirt you see this time is mud. But it could be a number of other things...

This picture came from a rainy Saturday morning spent weeding + hoeing in one of our flower beds. I was soaked + filthy by the time I was finished. But let me tell you-it was the best feeling ever.

Accomplishment. Fulfillment. Satisfaction of a job done well.

There's nothing quite like that feeling of knowing that your hard work has paid off in a beautiful finished product. It didn't take the flip of a switch, or the click of a mouse, to accomplish this. It took getting out of bed, getting out there Saturday morning, in the mud, in the rain, and working hard. I was worn out when I was done, but it was such a good feeling.

As I was cleaning up later on to leave the house, I had to laugh at my hands. I may now have been dressed up, and had my hair + makeup done, but my fingernails were a dead-giveaway for my lifestyle. There were purple/red stains all around and under my nails from the red beets I had canned prior in the week. There were dirt stains, still visible even though I had washed/scrubbed. If tomato juice stained then I would have had a good coating of that from the pizza sauce I had canned earlier that week as well. (Sorry, Jamberry's...there's not a chance you would last on these fingers!)

I would have it no other way. Dirty fingernails=hard work here. Just thinking about this all made me reflect on how thankful I am to have grown up in a home where it wasn't a disgrace to have dirty hands. It was an honor.

Dirty hands, dirty clothes, dirty shoes...those things meant mud + manure + weeds + briars. Calloused hands meant hands that knew the blessing + satisfaction of manual labor. Blisters were not a shame. They were a badge that said "hard work produced this".

Life is not all about work. I understand that. I know that there can be a downfall to the "hard work=success" mentality, and there is, and it's something that I have had to fight against, because there can be a tendency to find your ultimate fulfillment + acceptance in how hard you work, in how much you accomplish, instead of in the things that matter most.

However, that is how it is with most good things in life---taken out of context, they can be a problem. One day I might do a post about that.

But for today? I'm thankful for the dirty nails, and the tough hands, because for me today they mean the ability to work, the love of work, and the joy in work. They also mean food on the table, and provision in so many practical ways.

And I'm really grateful for that.
This quote is so good. (and the picture is hilarious, ha!)  I couldn't agree more. 

Y'all have a wonderful evening!