Friday, December 30, 2011

Really? Again?

What follows is not much more than nonsense.  But, because I crack myself up I'm just gonna go for it...

Today was a refreshing change.  Away from home,out of our routine, taking in the beauty and craftsmanship exhibited on Christmas Trees from around the world.

Sixty miles away from home, in an extremely well curated venue, one of a kind beauties all around me, and what does my camera point to?

The kids groan, shake their heads, look for another mother in the crowd that could possibly please whisk them away, or at least look like they belong with her so they don't have to be seen with me!

I assure them that really, at an upscale place like this, I'm not likely to see too many more of them.  And, give me a break, this picture is one of many documenting nativities from around the world.

And then, the sickness  subject appears again.  This time I have no explanation.  I'm just plain old enamored.

What? It's part of a regular exhibit?  And it's covered in Christmas Lights??? Totally awesome!  It does give some comfort though...perhaps I'm not the only one?

Quickly, the children hasten me to the car before I can spy more and they mutter, "she'll probably blog about this...".  I let it roll off my back like water off a duck- which was useful as much of the day was rainy.

Safely in the car, heading back to the sticks where I belong and my family doesn't worry about me being out in public home, we get a sign.  It bodes well for me, but not my offspring who are much more polished than little old moi.  Rumbling along on the expressway, right next to us is...yup, a trailer full of cattle.

Say no more.

Monday, December 26, 2011


I thought maybe I'd "give myself a break" today.  Although the writing is not difficult, there's a certain amount of attention, energy, and commitment to crafting and preparing words for this space.  I almost don't want to hear from myself for another few days after Christmas in Boston posted last night.

But, there are three physical gifts counted in yesterday's inventory of presents that I don't want to miss.  I am increasingly aware that each fleeting day with this present inheritance of our children is to be held loosely and with deep reverence.  Weekend Farmer Husband and I were both moved to tears yesterday at the depth of understanding, compassion, and maturity reflected in the gifts we received from our children.

First, one of the gifts reflects the wonderful sense of humor we cultivate as this body we call our family.
Warning-the image below is not for those shy about taking life's details and supersizing them.

I'll give you a little space to scroll and decide if you really want to see...


It now is clear that my obsession interest in cows has not been unnoticed!

Second, our older sons gave a breathtakingly generous gift to Weekend Farmer Husband.  I don't wish at this time to disclose what it is, but suffice it to say it is a physical gift that he would never consider purchasing for himself that assists in building relationship with all his kids, and at the same time delivers appropriate pleasure and elusive rest.  That our boys would be able to deliver such a thing broke the stoic heart within my man and the knowledge of how deeply he is loved by his children poured down his cheeks.

And, finally, I've been compelled to ask for this for months.  I wanted as a family to respond to biblical instruction to take care of widows and orphans and to give generously.  I'm chagrined (as one of the bodies responsible for shepherding and training these hearts in character quality growth) that our love of getting stuff made my request difficult.  I asked for an orphan for Christmas.

Weekend Farmer Husband is led by the Holy Spirit to believe that our quiver is full and so to my knowledge we will not be bringing any orphans into our physical home and family.  But, I felt it would be simple enough to sponsor a child somewhere in the world and to bring the gospel to him or her by giving generously to meet needs and hopefully to pour into in a small way want.

The idea met with mighty resistance.  I don't really understand why.  Perhaps it's all too new in this roller coaster of a new story we're writing here at Liberty Farm.  Sometimes all the change and what is required to build this new life seems like too much. And, we're just as subject to rejecting the "one more thing" as anybody else.  Christmas is limited in it's effort and scope, at least in a physical sense.  Making a commitment to a child means we must stick with it.  The one more thing must become permanently on the list of what we care for.

But in the end our hearts were softened and resistance was futile.  
Alicia Felicitas, a 4 year old sweetie joined our family from Peru yesterday.  I can't wait to get to know her.  And, after all the talking, training, waiting, praying, the hearts of my children responded to the call of God's word and my desire for expanding our kingdom work.

So, today's list is short.  But, I'm careful when I write it down here because in this broken and barren world there are friends and family members who have longed for this gift and remain waiting. Or, they understand now that the gift is not to be theirs for this world.  To you my dear ones, I extend my most gentle heart and as I chronicle my abundance I'm not unaware of your want.  I tremble as I write for what I've been given, and will trust God's faithful character and what He gives rather than what He withholds.

Added once again to the list of gifts:

Linking to Ann at Holy Experience, and although I got some good tips, I haven't made work of figuring out a button yet...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas in Boston

I mentioned it quite some time ago.  A Merry Little Selective Long Overdue Blog House Tour. And, if you're keeping track, it will be no hardship at all to add another adjective next time I talk about it!  It seems like I've had this in the works for ...well, 4 weeks.

It all began with this:
She got me thinking about how cheerful and special we try to make our home at Christmas, so on a whim I decided to commit myself (with fewer adjectives) to a Christmas house tour.

Then, in an intense 24+ hour period at the end of November, I got the unanticipated call.  My Dad has leukemia.  And all the plans I had for crafts, new recipes, getting all the decorations up were put on hold.  Not because I had so much to do.  He's in Boston.  I'm in West Michigan. I don't have an in the trenches role right now.  But, my thoughts turned away from nesting and I've been much more reflective and philosophical than I thought I might, so the tour just kept getting pushed back.

And then, one day, while chatting on the telephone my parents (well, actually my mom), asked when I was going to post pictures of Christmas at my house.  Gasp-somebody is paying attention and now I've got to "pay up" !  And, then, an idea was born.

I'd like nothing more than to be sharing Christmas with my parents right now, but for some obvious (and some not) reasons we did not travel east.  But wait-they faithfully read everything I write, and they study the pictures too.  Why not share Christmas Day with them after all?

So, spoiler alert-this may become world's longest post.  You're welcome to stick around, in fact I'd love it if you did.  But, I'm probably breaking obvious blog "rules" by doing this. Hey, I'm a newbie and can plead....ahem, I can plead.  So, I hope Mom and Dad, this takes on a family tone and that you feel as though we shared this day.  And for my other reader tens of readers, welcome to a Christmas Day for our family and at Liberty Farm.

From yesterday, driving to Weekend Farmer Husband's childhood home:

At the end of feasting, playing, unwrapping, and worshiping...

And now, welcome to Liberty Farm.

As you enter we want you to know this is what we have in our hearts as well as our home because we know Emmanuel, God with us.

We love lights at Christmas. Like the Shepherds we have had our starry nights boldly interrupted by an angel proclaiming Good News!  And, like the Wise Men who saw His star in the east, we follow.

Hospitality is an important part of our family lifestyle, not just at Christmas, but we sure do like to get ready for you at this time of year!

We remember how our praise is like a sweet aroma to the Lord, and we fill the house with tangy citrus and spicy cinnamon fragrance as the wassail is on the stove for days.

Coffee is always on.  Mugs and treats often rest ready on the counter.

(Thanks to my sister in law for the adorable snowmen and cake balls-must look those up for next year!)

Each child has their own ornament theme, and slowly (and inconsistently) we've added to them over the years.  Six themes has addled my brain more than once, but I do try since they are truly delighted when they receive another.

In order from youngest to oldest I'm on the lookout for birds, angels, stars, hearts, bears, and transportation themes. This year I only got 4 of the 6.

And, while I'm on it...when my eldest (19 yrs.) was itty bitty, I had this grand idea that I'd start gathering porcelain houses that you light with night light bulbs from within to collect over the years, and then when he (and subsequent siblings) established their own homes they'd have a neato collection of their own.  I had no idea then that we'd have six children.  Every Christmas when I pull out the boxes I wonder whose brilliant idea this was...but, then I put Grinch in a mental chokehold, because who am I to be so grumpy in this abundance.  The children love it, and soon, I'm captured by the lights and remembering the natal star. 
I should make it public that I've failed to keep things equal.  Sorry kids...somewhere along the way, I lost track.

I admire neutral colors and muted tone decorations.  But I seem to be unable to restrain myself from always having strong color elements throughout the house.  And, since I don't add decorating into my Christmas budget aside from the tree and replacing lights, I often use what we've got around.  And, I try to over time curate classic colors and accessories that I love so I'm inspired to use them in different ways all year.

For the record, I did succumb to one impulse buy this time around...That cute mercury glass tree by the poinsettia was a Target find.  Are you keeping track by the way of what I write about?  There are those bookshelves filled with my favorite accessory! 

Oh, yes, I agree, it is a lovely table.  It was constructed by my son and his friend using the last of the wood and dimensional lumber that we were able to salvage from the demolition.  I must cover it every meal with a table cloth since there are gaps between the boards and we're pretty messy, but you can bet that the cloth comes off right after the meal to feast our eyes on the lovely wood.

I bet your finger is tired from scrolling down, down, down, down...There's a certain numbness creeping up my lower back as I sit and write.  Must be time to draw this to a close. So here's a few more pictures for you mom and dad before I really conclude...

Back to Christmas, as the day lengthened clouds rolled in and covered the brightness that had started the day.  It seemed fitting since we had recently had family worship centered on some of the more difficult themes of Christmas and had talked about them as being "dark". 

 And then, this.

The sky split open.  

And the glory of the Lord shone around us.  Thanks be to God, we were not afraid.  We rushed out into the light singing at the top of our country lungs, 
"Joy to the World, the Lord has come! "