Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Happy Trails!

I have decided to close this blog. One of the main reasons why is because we now have four working blogs for this household and that is too many in my opinion. I also want to spend any time I do have for blogging on teaching Jennifer and Robert how to write properly on a blog. Thanks for all your comments and keep following the other blogs in this household:

The Process Driven Life

The Mellow Rose of Texas

Growing Up Agrarian

Happy Trails!!

Reforming Daily,

Monday, August 10, 2009

My six year old!

Here is a picture of my Sarah Grace. She is always ready to smile for the camera!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sarah is Six!

My youngest child, Sarah, turned six this week. I really can't believe she is six already! Her birth marked a huge step towards the Lord for me. I had already had three children before her and each hospital experience made me never want to go back to a hospital again. When I had Tracy, in 1993, it took me 2&1/2weeks to be released because of the infections I developed after an emergency C-section. When I had Jennifer, in 1997, they were bugging me day and night about my decision not to have her immunized against Hepatitis. When I had Robert, in 1999, the anesthesia for his C-section did not work like it was supposed to work. So needless to say, going back to a hospital was the last thing I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to raise more children, just not deliver them in a hospital. I thought the hospital was my only option.

Then in 2002 Michael, Tracy and I went on a ministry trip to Australia. There we stayed with a family that had had a homebirth. I had never heard of this in my life! Of course, after 3 C-sections this was not going to be a typical homebirth. I really felt that the Lord was testing my trust in Him again. In 1998, I quit my job at an IVF lab. That was a huge step for me. Deep down I knew I had to quit but it is easier said than done. I was still very fooled by the world and its ideas of what women should be doing. "Go to college, graduate, get a job, and then you can work AND be a mom(and maybe get married too)!" More money = more happiness. I finally let go of that security blanket. Now the idea of having a homebirth after 3 C-sections!

The first challenge: convincing a professional midwife to help me in this endeavor. I felt like the Lord opened this door for me. The first midwife I tried I had found online. She had mentioned she was a Christian and that is why I contacted her first. This was a huge blessing since many midwives out there are in to new age or some other non-Christian philosophy. When I first contacted her she said she was going to pray and fast about it. About a week later she came out to meet Michael and me. It was actually while we were getting ready for for the first ever Bunkfest(aka Ranchfest now). She had not yet agreed to take my case. We met then and talked. She had question after question for me. I gave her a copy of my medical records for her to look over. After that meeting, I think we talked on the phone 4-5 more times. She had obviously done her own research on homebirths after 3 C-sections. She finally called and told me that I had given her all the right answers to her questions. In other words, I think she was asking me so many questions waiting for me to give her a reason to backout. She agreed to take me as a patient! The Lord was providing a way.

She agreed to take my case in March. After that I was on the computer constantly researching homebirth. I found an online group that proved to be priceless. It was through Yahoo and it was called HBAC, Home Birth After C-section. I read and read and read some more. So many stories about homebirths after 1 or 2 C-sections but not many after 3 C-sections. It had been done though! I knew that if it had been done I could do it too with the Lord's help. I would soon be labeled a hopeful HBACx3. I read every single birth story I could get. The good ones and the bad ones, although the bad ones were a small fraction of all stories. The Lord was teaching me and showing me how to FULLY trust EVERYTHING to Him. If the worst happened, uterine rupture, I could die but I really was not afraid of dying. I was doing what I KNEW the Lord was wanting me to do.

I got a mixed reaction from my friends and family. I remember talking to my brother. His wife is a nurse so I am sure he got all the details of what could happen. I remember telling him during the conversation, "IF I die trying this know that I died fulfilling the Lord's will for my life." Of course these warnings were coming from a man that raced cars at high speeds around a track every Friday night, and he was good at it too. Still, everytime I watched him race I knew he could die anytime on that track but I would never try make him stop racing. I told him that I was fulfilling a calling and a hospital birth was out of the question. A few others called and talked to Michael including my uncle Bob. He is a doctor and had all the medical "facts" about homebirth too. My friends were a bit better. Many of them were in the fellowship that met at our house. They understood better why I had to do this. However, my homeschool friends were a little more mixed. They ranged from supportive to looks that you would give a crazy woman.

My pregnancy was fairly uneventful. I always gained alot of weight when I got pregnant. I think I gained about 55 pounds. I did have lots of swelling towards the end of the pregnancy but Sarah was due in August and it was hot! Some of my swelling went away when I finally propped up my feet and sat still for most of a day. I did have our ministry group praying for Sarah. She kept flipping into a breech position. My midwife had me sitting in funny positions to help position Sarah the right way. She flipped positions daily, if not hourly! Sarah was born 9 days early on August 2nd, 2003. She was a tiny baby, 5 and 1/2 pounds. Kelly, my midwife, had never delivered a baby that small! I do have a birth story written but will spare the details unless you really want them. Let me know and I will send her birth story to you.

What a huge step this was for me. Trust the Lord. Do you really TRUST Him with EVERYTHING? If you are struggling with this one important lesson, I learned He never fully takes away the fear but He is always there to comfort your fears and strengthen you for any challenges He may have put in your path. A little fear can be good for you. Just know that He is in control and whatever happens, it is all good! "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Ps 27:1 What a blessing Sarah has been in my times of trouble since her birth. Many times when God had me in the valleys of life teaching me His ways, she was always there to bring a smile to my face.

Shabot Shalom,

Friday, May 15, 2009


Motherhood is so fun sometimes! Robert made me a wooden sign, Sarah gave me more flowers and Tracy made breakfast. Michael got me this book:

It has Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion. It was published in 1938 and is in great condition! Then later on that day while we were processing the nopales I found this one:

That is not what a heart really looks like but I thought it was different! We processed 14 quarts of nopalitos and pickled 5 quarts. I got the last tiny spine out of my thumb yesterday! I think it was from the laundry I hand washed that had the spines in them. I learned how well duct tape works at removing the tiny spines. Wow, another use for duct tape!

Last week, I was looking through a magazine and came across this set of rules for teachers from the 1800's:

1. You will not marry during the term of your contract.
2. You are not to keep company with men.

3. You must be at home between the hours of 8pm and 6am unless attending school functions.

4. You must not loiter down town in any of the ice cream stores.

5. You may not travel beyond the city limits unless you have permission from the chairman of the board.

6. You may not ride in a carriage or automobile with any man unless he is your father or brother.

7. You may not smoke cigarettes.

8. You may not dress in bright colors.

9. You must wear at least two petticoats.

10. Dresses must not be more than 2 inches above the ankle.

11. To keep the school neat and clean, you must sweep the floor at least once daily; scrub the floor at least once a week with hot soapy water; clean the blackboards at least once a day; and start fire at 7am so the room will be warm by 8am.

We have come a long way since then, sadly enough. Now parents are just happy to have other people teach their children as long as the teacher is not arrested for drugs or some other illegal activity. They turn over their parental rights to the government. Now look where we are, metal detectors in the schools and school shootings are still a common occurrence. Not to mention what these public schools get to teach children today. I praise the Lord that He turned the path of of my life towards Him and away from the world and its Antichrist systems. What a gift!!

Now I take pleasure in simpler things like a loaf of bread that turns out nicely:

Or some nice homemade garlic rolls:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Reforming Daily,

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Keeping It Real

I came across this blog post on the Ladies Against Feminism website and really enjoyed reading it. I thought you all might like it too.

The delicate net of home, with its everyday doings, projects, gatherings, relationships, laughter, cooking, baking, crafting, plans and friendships is a joy and blessing. However, we cannot forget that home and family means life - real, down-to-earth life. Sometimes this life is not as clean, neat, pretty and peaceful as we wanted it to be, or thought it would be. Sometimes our plans go amiss - and it's normal.

I've had people incredulously ask me if there's "anything at all I dislike about being a homemaker". To this, I can only say: ladies, life at home isn't, nor is it supposed to be, a bed of roses or a never-ending holiday. Homemaking has its frustrations and downfalls, but hey, can't the same be said just about any job? Yes, there will be days when we are unorganized, unmotivated, when things just seem to be falling out of our hands, or an unexpected flu delays our plans. Still, it doesn't change the big picture - the one of making a house into a true, heart-warming home, which is a special, noble, and irreplaceable occupation.

I'm not perfect - and I will never be perfect. I doubt I "have it all together" more than any of you ladies. I'm a young wife and soon-to-be-Mom with a lot to learn and improve about my character, attitude, skills, abilities, organization, planning, and anything you can think of. What I write on my blog rarely conveys my everyday frustrations; instead, I try to focus on the more profound, lingering satisfaction of being a wife and having my own home to tend to. It doesn't mean that I always hop around sweeping the floors with an enthusiastic smile on my face, but I do love my home.

Yes, sometimes I groan when I notice the sink loaded with dishes just when I was about to take an afternoon nap. Yes, sometimes I'm still in the frenzy of cleaning and cooking when my husband comes home, because I've been too tired during the day, and wasted too much time. My life doesn't consist entirely of peaceful bliss, but I do love being a wife and a keeper of my home. The solution isn't running away from home to leave it neglected, just because we are frustrated by the slow and tedious process of making it into the cozy nest we want it to be.

Also, when I talk about the beauty and peace of home, I'm often told, "Oh, just wait until you have that baby! You'll never have a peaceful moment again! You will never be able to spend time together with your husband, or enjoy a quiet dinner together, or do any of the things you love."

As we haven't had our baby yet, it's indeed difficult for me to predict what will happen when this little one joins us, but I can already tell you this: I don't expect we'll have a baby who smiles and coos all day, lets me know she's hungry or needs her diaper to be changed by gentle, delicate sounds, and sleeps throughout the night from the moment she is born. Little ones do keep Mom on her feet, and need, at least for a while, lots of undivided attention. Having a baby will produce a shift in our schedule, availability, mobility, plans, routine, and family dynamics. And yes, from observing other Moms with young babies, I expect that for a while we'll feel as though everything else is put aside. I pray for a gentle, patient and contented spirit to help me be a good mother, but I absolutely cannot guarantee I will never be frustrated or exhausted. Most likely I will be, at least at some point.

However, seasons change. I suspect it might be a bit difficult to look a couple of months ahead after you've just had a sleepless night with a colicky or teething baby, but undeniably, everything comes and goes. Babies eventually start to eat less frequently and sleep in longer stretches. They grow; the older children help around the house and with new little ones; the entire family network is dynamic - it shifts, changes, adjusts, and from more experienced Moms I've heard the advice that it's better to just let go, and go with the flow of whatever needs to be done at the moment.

I'm sure I will never be "Mrs. Perfect Mom". I can already say this with a good degree of certainty, because I'm merely a woman, flesh and blood, a faulty human being. Perhaps many evenings in the near future will include burned dinner, unanswered phone calls, and a crying baby. However, if some peace and stability are eventually to be achieved, where will it happen if not in the realm of home? Will I gain freedom, contentment and peace if I give up the care of my home and tiny baby over to someone else, and instead run around frazzled all day at an outside job? Somehow, I seriously doubt it.

I'm not perfect, just as none of us is perfect. Our family is as real and has as many real-life faults and challenges as you can think of. This journal is of my dreams, hopes, plans, and moments I like to remember and cherish. I'm on an ongoing journey of learning and improvement, and sometimes it feels as though I take two steps forward and one step backward. But as long as I keep it real and preserve, the rewards are sweeter than I could ever have imagined.

Mrs. Anna T.

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Pro. 31:27

Monday, April 27, 2009

Rainy Days and Mondays...

We were blessed with another rainy day today. Lord willing, we are forecast to have another one tomorrow. Rainy days are a blessing for the land and bless us with a somewhat slower day. Not much outside work is done and we enjoy the cooler temperatures during the warmer seasons. Inside though much of the normal work still goes on. Today I finished canning Boss Hog and started to render all the fat we got off of him. Michael cut some pretty nice pork chops from the meat before we cut up the rest. We also saved the ribs to smoke and Michael is curing the 20lb ham.

Here is another reading selection by Rev. William Jay from his book "Morning Exercises for Everyday in the Year" p. 148-149:

We judge prematurely. He that believeth maketh not haste. It is good for a man not only to hope, but quietly wait for the salvation of God; and one reason is, because it will prevent a wrong conclusion. "Therefore," says the apostle, "judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come." You would not judge the abilities of the limner from the unfinished sketch, but you would wait till the canvas had received the last touches of his masterly pencil. You would not judge of the perfection of a building from the digging of the foundation, and the coarse materials lying in a kind of disorder all around, especially if you had never seen the plan or the model; but you would stay till the parts were all put together in their places, and the top stone brought forward with shouting. Let us stay till God has done. "What I do," says he, "thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter." Then everything will speak for itself. Then shall we walk, not by faith, but by sight. Then we shall see what we now believe, and for ever acknowledge, "He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are judgement: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He."

As I write the family is working on their first batch of sauerkraut. I have never tried sauerkraut before so I guess I won't be prejudiced about the taste of our homemade batch. Here is a picture of Michael supervising Jennifer cutting up cabbage:

And here is Tracy cutting up cabbage too. Funny thing that she is unsupervised since she is the one that cut the tendon in her finger while she was sharpening a filet knife. Nothing that a "little" surgery won't fix though!

Reforming Daily,
"Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein." Mark 10:15

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ranchfest, Weather, and Potatoes

Time to mark the ending of another Ranchfest. We all had a great time. It just all seemed to go so quickly. The men did fencing, roofing, and we had a few new doors installed. The ladies made some cheese, made some soap, some went to the local thrift shops, and there was lots of mommy stuff to do. We had a large number of children this year, 15 to be exact and there were 17 adults. It was a really great time! Here is a picture of me attempting a batch of soap:

Today's weather was a crazy temperature swing day which is pretty normal for springtime in Texas. This morning it was in the lower fifties and I actually thought about starting a fire for some warmth. I decided not to since it got to the lower nineties yesterday and I knew it would be warming up pretty quickly. It actually got into the 100's today! I did not know it was going to get that hot! I had already decided I was going to can some plain potatoes today but if I knew it was going to get that hot I would have planned the canning for a cooler day. Wow, it got hot on the porch! Here is a picture of the end product. My camera is missing so I used the camera on my phone.

I hope to can some more soon. I would like to can some sweet potatoes soon. Many of the sweet potato recipes I have tried call for mashed sweet potatoes. If I had some on hand that were canned that would be a quick way to get mashed sweet potatoes! I will have to experiment and see if the flavor changes much if they are canned first. I have really grown to like the sweet potato. They have a pretty flower too!

In Christ,
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb 4:12)