I Have Been Blessed

All about how God has blessed me. In my marriage, with my six children, through homeschooling, and our faith with recipes, large family living, and updates on our life.

The Number of Perfection

I am not sure how it happens … how the passage of time goes so quickly, and you blink and six months have passed.  Your blog has sat empty. Your farm is in a new season of growing. A school year has ended and a new one begun. The children have grown.

I am not sure where the time goes. I am not sure how it happens so so fast. Where is the sweet little boy who is now nearly a teenager who can do *almost* anything you can do, who can fry chicken better than you, who can put the baby to sleep, cuddle a crying brother, or make his sister smile easier than anyone else can. I am not sure where the skinny little toddler went who turned into a skinny boy, who still can give the best butterfly kisses or look at you like you’ve hung the moon. Or when my first precious baby girl turned into one of the big kids who goes shopping with you to “help” and then actually does. Who announces on the fly that she’s going to wash the dishes for you. Or who cries for you when you get sick. How my blond haired baby turns into the sweetest blond headed FIVE year old. How she can melt a heart with a smile or a look and who will rub your head when you’ve had a hard day. Where did the time go when the crazy haired baby turned into the sweetest funniest toddler ever. Who loves his sister and cherishes her and who can make anyone laugh. Or how is it that my baby is somehow not a baby anymore, but a walking, talking, toddler getting into trouble and falling deeper and deeper into our hearts.

How is it that the time goes by so quickly and I, with all my faults, and failures, deserve to be this blessed. Deserve these six beautiful blessings. And then get the joy of holding another one deep in my womb. Holding my breath seven more months to meet the newest miracle to add to our family.

How do I deserve such blessing?

7 is the Number of Perfection.

Baby #7 is due end of April 2014!

WE ARE SO BLESSED!!!!

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EEK!

44495500083Yes, it’s been that kind of season. The kind where days pass by too busy to pay attention to and before you know it weeks have passed, then months.
We have been focusing on what’s important …. faith, family, the farm, trying to keep everyone healthy and our house in liveable condition. And yes, that is a long to-do list right there!!!
In the meantime, days are passing us by.
We were blessed to have been able to go to Disney, not once, but twice now.
Our farm is growing and growing and growing.
We are expanding … building a new plot of ground to plant on and possibly setting up a shade-cloth system so we can continue to grow during out hottest months of the year. What we have is growing well (Especially the carrots and onions!!) and we are so excited about the prospect of planting Spring Crops as early as tomorrow!!
The biggest, most exciting thing to have passed is that our sweet little Cassidy turned one! We were so excited to celebrate with her. She enjoyed opening her presents – taking the paper out of the bags, hugging her clothes, and playing instantly with her toys. She LOVED her smash cake and took no time at all digging into it double-handed to enjoy as much cake as she could! (And Mommy didn’t mind cleaning her up afterwards, because there are few things sweeter than a sleepy, sugar-high baby, freshly bathed and pajamad laying on your shoulder!

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Thankful Thursday

What we are thankful for this week.

Wonderful family, I can’t even begin to state how thankful we are for each other. The love we have for each other, our health, we are so thankful to be a big, loving, family.

DSC_2065-1 I asked the girls what they were thankful for this morning. Adreya quickly piped up with “Jesus”. There are not words to express the joy that fills my heart to know that my children walk in truth and that they love and appreciate our Lord. Madelynne’s spur of the moment answer was “family and friends.” It made this Mommy’s heart happy. Following Christmas and the gift-giving holiday that it was, my girls could have rightfully so, been thankful for the toys, or the new clothes, or the candy …. and I know they are for I see the evidence of it daily, but to be most thankful for the things that truly matter is special.

I am so BLESSED!!!!!

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A new page

Somehow it is 2013 already, and my mind has been swimming with all the possibilities that this New Year could hold. I’ve seen people on Facebook posting their word of the year, and although words have floated around, none have yet to take root. I can’t get past the word I have tried to set for my life – Blessed. I am so overwhelmingly, exceedingly blessed. For Christmas, my mom made me a gratitude journal “365 things I am thankful for in 2013”. The truth is I could sit down right now, and fill all 365 slots. Easily.

My dad asked me what my resolutions for this year will be and I told him I hadn’t made any. Although we will try to focus on getting healthier this year, I really don’t want to have the title of “resolution” onto it. It’s just something we knew we’d do after the stress and excitement of the holidays were over.

But what do I want to accomplish this year …. I want to pray more and judge less. I want to be a better me – a better wife, a better mom, a better daughter, sister, a better friend. I want to hold tightly to my priorities and my convictions. I want to stay positive. I want to remember that I am rich in love. My hands are full and my heart is fuller. That I am blessed with the opportunity to be in this life. With my wonderful husband. That I get to be the Mommy to these kids, in this house, farming, together.  I want to remember daily that I have everything I need and that the Lord has proven over and over again to us that he is faithful to provide for us in all situations. I want to remember over and over that I have MORE than I need, because He is also faithful to provide my wants to me as well.

Sometimes my faith is small, and God has to remind me that I am in His hands and He is taking care of it all. What do I have to worry about.

I was upset last week – the frost had knocked out some of our crops. Our green beans, our squash, our corn that was almost ready, our peas we had been hoping for …. all frozen. I was disappointed. But, I didn’t realize that it wasn’t all lost. In actuality only the tops of our plants had gotten freeze-burn, and underneath the plants were still thriving. There were still green beans I could pick, and flowers on my pea plants.

Then Saturday came, and it was raining. We haven’t  before had to do a market in the rain. I had convinced myself it was going to be a bad day. I told my husband on the way there “I think we’re going to lose money today. I don’t even think we’ll make cost. It’s a good thing your parents bought me a pressure canner for Christmas, because we’re going to have a lot of vegetables left over.” I had little faith. But I also knew we had everything we needed. Even if we had lost money and had a bad day, I knew it would be okay, because God had already provided for our needs this month. But I forgot. I forgot he takes care of us over and abundantly. Saturday ended up being the best market day we have had so far. We sold out of nearly everything. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude, and disappointed in myself for my lack of faith.

So maybe my word for 2013 needs to be faith – that I need to focus on strengthening my faith. Because God is good to us. WE ARE SO BLESSED!!!!!!!!!!

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Raindrops on Roses

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Season. We have so much to be Thankful for!! We have a Saviour who loves us and cares for us, provides for us and most importantly died for us. I have a husband I can be proud of. Who I love unconditionally. Who is a good to me, and good for me. Who is not only my best friend, soul mate, but also a wonderful Father. I am thankful for Brendyn, and Tyler, Madelynne and Adreya, Wyatt, and Cassidy. I am thankful my kids are healthy and growing and sweet, and loveable, and mostly good kids.

I am thankful for my Family – My Mother, My Father, My sisters, My in-laws, My nephews and my nieces. My aunts and uncles, my grandparents, my cousins. I am thankful for my friends in whichever category they fit in – church friends, homeschooling friends, scrapbooking friends, old friends, new friends. I am thankful for my church and our church family.

I am thankful for the fact that we still live in a free country. And I am thankful for the men and women who fought for that to be so. I am thankful for opportunities. I am thankful for the land to grow our garden on and the harvest it provides.

I am thankful for raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, and so so much more.

When I stop to count your blessings, all I can do is realize that I have been truly blessed!

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Teaching the Kids I Like

This is the article I wrote that will be on  The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Blog Feature,  “Meet the Crew”

Teaching the Kids I Like …

When I was about five years old, my Mom wrote a song for me:

I might be a Kindergarten Teacher

Or work in a bank like my Aunt Joan

Or work in an office like Mommy

Or have ten kids and stay at home.

I might be a doctor

Or maybe a baby’s nurse

But whatever I do, Wherever I go

I’ll always put my God first.

Probably from the first time I heard the song, I knew I wanted to be a teacher, and throughout my formative years, and on into my teen years, I never really wavered from that thought. So, in high school, I focused my electives on Education, and when I entered college, first at the Community College level, and then at the University of South Florida (at the time, third in the nation for their Education program), I entered with my focus on an Elementary Education degree.

I did my time and my classes. And then I got to my internship. My first internships were great. I learned a lot and I loved being in charge of the class for a couple of hours at a time. Then came my final internship. I was assigned a fourth grade class in inner city Tampa, in the ghetto. And it was a neighborhood school. I cried on my first day when I saw the bullet holes in the library windows. I had kids arrested out of my class. I lost kids to “the system” because their parents got arrested for drugs or prostitution the night before.  I had kids sleep in my class because they listened to their parents fight or party or because someone else was sleeping in their bed. And my heart broke over and over again. I realized I didn’t have the capacity in me to not become too emotionally involved.

I took a job working in an office (like Mommy) …. Where I eventually met my husband. When it was time for my oldest baby to go to school, the thoughts of the sending my son to school mixed with all I knew about the government controlled beaurocracy, I wasn’t anxious to send my son there. Thanks to some friends that were also homeschooling, I felt like that was the best choice for me as well.

I am sure when my mom wrote that song, the line about having ten kids and staying at home was meant as the punch line. The “way out there” one that wouldn’t come true. Surely, I would pick one of the other fine choices  … but to my amazement, it’s the one that is most similar to the truth. Six kids later, and I am blessed to stay home. So four years of college and I still teach, I just get to teach the kids I like!!!!

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Three?

When you are a kid, weeks take too long, a month seems like forever, and years are just too large to fathom. How is it then, that as you get older, those years go by in the blink of an eye? How is humanly possible that my baby boy was born three whole years ago. When I can remember so clearly looking down at the wild-haired dark-eyed blessing God had given to us. That I can so clearly recall bringing him home from the hospital, and him meeting all his siblings. Even Brendyn can remember his first birthday so vividly. Wyatt, looking down at that cake as if to say, “Is this really all for me?”

It is so amazing to me, that even after six kids, that each kid is so different, with their own personality, their own quirks, their own “special-ness.” Wyatt has been a charmer since the day he was born. And he was the baby who was our baby for the longest time. So, it may be possible that is a little spoiled. He makes us laugh daily with his antics, or his looks, or his playing. He eats everything we put in front of him. He is happy to help and even happier to entertain. He loves to play with toys and with people. (Although his knock, knock jokes still need some work.)

He is a good big brother to Cassidy (he wants to play with her and kiss her, touch her and hug her, let her run her fingers through his crazy hair.) He is a good little brother. He adores his Bubby! It is often Brendyn that Wyatt wants to tuck him in, or Bubby who is his favorite (even though I keep trying to change his mind.)

Wyatt was baby number five. The baby that according to modern preconceptions, was too many. The baby that made us from a large family, into a too-big family. Imagine if we would’ve listened. If I would’ve stopped after four, or even worse, three, like “normal people” are supposed to do. I can’t imagine my life with out that big-headed, wild-haired, doe-eyed, smiling little boy.

We have been blessed! So Blessed! Happy Third Birthday Wyatt.

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Time Flies

…when you’re too busy! Austin has been laid off again, so we are putting all our efforts into farming and markets and enjoying getting to spend lots of time as a family. We have been in this season before (for three years – from two weeks before Adreya was born until the Monday after her third birthday) and we are not fearful about being in this season again. When Austin was out of work for three years, we saw over and over again how the Lord provided for us. And even though it has been just one month now, we are still faithful and He has been faithful to show us already how we are in His hands. So in the last month, we have prepared our ground, planted seeds, and have little sproutlings up. We are doing a second planting today to stagger our crop. We have started doing markets (right now by buying and reselling to secure our position until our own crops are in) and are enjoying the fellowship and friendly atmosphere, but mostly enjoying being together as a Family.

Somehow in all of that going on, even though we DID celebrate my middle princesses FOURTH birthday, I forgot to get on here and make a tribute to her. I love that no matter how many children you have, they each end up different … with different personalities, different attitudes, different likes … Adreya is our charmer. She is the one who people levitate towards. She is so beautiful with her silky dirty blond hair and has a sweet personality. She is a nurturer and quick to help, happy to please. She is the best at doing a job through to completion, and often is the one I can count on to do a job that her three bigger siblings would leave unfinished, or complain about – Adreya will take on the task, with a good cheerful attitude and see it through, smiling, and talking all the way. She makes my Mother’s heart happy.

Recently, when I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she answered “a very nice queen”, which I thought was a great answer!!! Brendyn answered that question with a chef (he loves to cook and try out new recipes – he has quite the repertoire of meals I can completely turn over to him now.) Tyler had a hard time deciding, because he just doesn’t know yet, although for the sake of an answer, he told me a police man. We’ll work on the strength and endurance that comes with that later!! Madelynne answered ” a homeschooling mommy” with four kids: Violet (her favorite toy), Virgil (grandpa’s middle name), Virginia (Grammy’s name), and Victor (the only other  boy v name we could think of). She also wants her husband to farm and do markets that way he can be home, although, she says, if he has to work for long times, she will “just have to look after all my four kids by myself.” Wyatt said he wanted to be a soldier, with his Bubba (Brendyn says he would like to go do a short military tour before becoming a chef and Wyatt idolizes his brother!). Cassidy couldn’t answer for herself, so I decided for her she should attempt to be a princess. She is already so good at it!

We have been blessed. Beyond all that we could EVER ask or think.

 

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Federal Income Tax Course

National Tax Training School very generously offered us the opportunity to review their Federal Income Tax Course. While deciding if we were a good candidate for this review (I do our family’s taxes, usually with the help of an online program), I was looking around their website and it occurred to me that this might be an excellent program for my Dad. He is retired, loves learning, and could use a few extra dollars. I talked to him about taking this class and he was interested. This is a course designed to help you learn the ins and outs of tax preparation, not only for yourself, but for others. They are the only nationally accredited correspondence school specializing in tax training. They prepare you to take the IRS Registered Tax Preparer Exam.

This course comes in two shipments. The first shipment you receive includes a huge binder with 20 lessons. Each lesson is said to take about 8 hours of study each. You can complete the course in as little as eight weeks, but you have one year to fully finish it. See the course outline. Also included are self-check practice tests and exams which are mailed in, graded, and sent back to you, with not only what you missed, but an explanation of why you missed it, and where to find that information in the lesson again to refresh on it. They even give you self-addressed envelopes that only require a stamp.

After you have completed lesson 17, you receive your next package, which includes your Final Exam (with envelope), a certificate order form, Practical Case Studies, a 15 page Guide to State Personal Income Taxes, information on taking the IRS Agent Examination, and two books.

The first book is Building,Marketing, & Operating a Profitable Tax Practice {a practical, step-by-step, working guide to running a successful, efficient, & lucrative professional tax practice}. This text outlines what you need to know to do taxes for others and includes sample letters, fees, how to expand your practice, ethical responsibilities, how to handle an audit, marketing, etc. The other book included is the Federal Tax Handbook for 2012. This is a huge volume of 834 pages (and a 75 page index) that starts with highlighting what is new, the tax calendar and quick reference card, and then goes into 26 chapters of information.

This is so much more than a test-prep course. This is a full education on preparing taxes. They offer two payment options. $795 for the course with 4 years of post-graduate support, or $495 with two years of post-graduate support. (Payment options are available). The post-graduate support gives you full access to their online, annual Tax Change Bulletins and allows you to be able to contact your instructor with any questions that will arise as your tax practice grows.

My dad can see the benefit of this course. It will allow him to be able to help others and maybe earn a fee by doing their taxes for them. He says it is a little “dry”, but not difficult to go through. The information is easily laid out and accessible. They are also working on an online version of this course. While I personally prefer to be able to hold what I am studying, the online accessibility will make testing much easier and the grading more immediate.

It was a true blessing to be able to review this course.

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31 candles

31 does not seem like a great number. The general consensus yesterday while receiving my birthday wishes seemed to be “31, really? Wow!” I know, I am getting older! But even though the number went up one and my sweet Adreya told me that I was “really old now. As old as Grandma Doane.” (Who, just as a reference, is 76!!), even though I got older …. yesterday was a really great birthday!

My kids tried their best to be sweet yesterday and indulged me with as many hugs as I asked for! My dearest best friend brought over her five children and we spent the day together and despite being in the house with ELEVEN children, I really enjoyed it and had so much fun! They brought a spa to my house, they baked me a pink lemonade cake and even brought my favorite flavor of ice cream! And then she brought over everything we needed to do Tie-Dye (which I had never done before). So soon I will have a new long tie-dye skirt to add to my wardrobe and all the kids will have a neat T-shirt of their own creation!

Once Austin got home from work, he and my Mom took me out for dinner where I had a very yummy steak! Sitting at dinner surrounded by the people I love the most, and then reminiscing on the way home … I could only come up with one thing – I really am SO incredibly blessed! Happy Birthday to Me.

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