Wednesday, June 29, 2011

High Ground

     The Abbey Farm sits about a mile west of the Missouri River Bluff. Over the last couple of weeks the river has risen and there is extensive flooding, primarily on the Missouri (East) side. The children are in awe of the swollen river, it's beauty--and the devastation of it's flooding. Beauty, yes. If I said that the pictures were of a giant lake, one would think they were gorgeous. The sight is humbling on many counts. Nature can only be "controlled" so much. Loss can occur in a matter of moments.

     Charlie Wagner grew up on the Abbey Farm in the 1930s and '40s. I have mentioned him before. Strong and stocky, lined and tanned, his blue eyes sparkle when he recalls memories from his childhood. His grandson has his eyes. He is in his twenties and is lean and strong from farming his other grandmother's land across the Missouri beside the levee. He moved his young family to the farm and has been taking care of his grandmother. We saw him recently.  He told us that the farm is flooded since the levee broke, but they had time enough to move the family into the house they still own in town. Despite great loss, he was thankful that they were all safe. He had neither an angry nor complaining tone in his voice. I felt great respect for the man.

     Marie and I drove around town again today. She had seen pictures, but when she stood on the bluff and looked out over the miles of flooded land she was speechless. Back in the car we prayed together as Jim played games happily on the "BabiPod." Life is just like that: there is a contrast of tragedy with ignorance, of suffering with love.  This flood has been devastating for some. Let's remember to pray for all those who are suffering or challenged by it, and for all tragedies occurring in the world. It may not halt a flood or stop an earthquake, but it can give strength, hope and grace.

          Think it doesn't make a difference? Well, what could it hurt? Prayer is good for the soul and for the world. I believe it makes all the difference.

God bless you,


The Abbey Farm

Sunday, June 19, 2011

      I have mentioned my friend, Christy, a few times. When we first moved to the Abbey Farm, we met and became immediate friends. She has a large family and homeschools her children. She and her family live on Providence Hill Farm and they raise chickens, goats, pigs, dogs, cats, and the occasional stray or injured wild animal. She is an amazing person and I'm blessed to know her. She is wise and capable, Godly and loving. She recently started a blog called Artisan Farmstead Living. It is fascinating. It has just begun to tap her knowledge of so many arts and skills.

     Christy recently was given "The Stylish Blogger" award by another blogger. When received, you are to post seven things that you haven't posted before about yourself, and pass the award on to 15 other bloggers. Christy has passed this award on to The Abbey Farm and I am honored. Those to whom I pass the award are all much farther along than I. I hope they are touched, at least. New to the blogging world I'm blown away by the numbers of bloggers, their writing abilites, their experiences. I first heard of blogging when a friend of ours in a big "Think Tank" in DC started one a few years ago. Then I saw the "Julie and Julia" movie. I was intrigued. But until I started this and surfed around, I did not know how big the blogging world was.

     I'm probably more an open book than most, but here goes:

1) It's probably no surprise that I loved the show, "The Walton's" when it first came out. But I also loved it when it was syndicated for reruns, and then when it came out on DVD...

2) My favorite activity as a kid, besides anything with horses, was swimming in the Gunpowder River. There was a huge rock we dove off of that we called the "Petrified Tree" because it had markings like the bark of a tree.

3) The Gunpowder also lent itself to great "Floatdowns." We would drive a few miles north, and with tractor innertubes floatdown the river to a spot closer to home.

4) When I was ten I asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life. I may not have always lived up to His standards but I love Him dearly and will persevere to do just that.

5) My first pony's name was Misty. She was two and had not been broken and so I trained her myself the summer after sixth grade.

6) I've had an ACL repair from years of misdiagnosed injuries including tripping while backing up for a flyball, playing on the Hereford Bulls Varsity Softball team. I stepped into an unfilled soccer goal hole. And then jumping down from a post and rail fence, and finally, skiing on a Double Black Diamond run when Susanna was only seven weeks old (nuts!).

7) I am a Registered Nurse and it will always be a part of my identity. I will work again outside of the day.

     Right now, my focus is this big, beautiful family, and where God has put us.

God bless you!


The Abbey Farm

I will add to this list as I become more blogger-savvy, but here are my favorite sites to check out, and who I feel deserve the award. I'm sure they don't need me plugging them, they may be way to busy to even notice. I began this blog for family and friends, and that circle of friends has gained a new layer of inspiring e-friends. I am thankful for them.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What the World Needs Now...

     I've mentioned our tradition of "Highs and Highers" at dinnertime. We go around the table and tell about the best part of our day, and then something that God taught us, or some wisdom we want to share. It works fine for all faiths, those with no religion, even those with no words. Jim usually says, "In my heart!"  Margaret tilts her head when her turn, smiles and just says "Aww!"-- because no matter what she says we always go "Aww!"

     Yesterday, Marie and Susanna had friends over for dinner. The last time one of them was here we had a great lasagne. He'd never, ever had it before. It was actually on the schedule again for dinner and we didn't want him to think it was all we ate. Without too much time to switch gears, Susanna found five frozen pizzas in the freezer, and "Voila"...dinner fit for a Teen! I thought wryly that I'd just posted that morning about homemade pizza on: Well, there is a place in the world for frozen pizza, too. The block of time which was created by not having to cook was welcome in my busy day. It meant more time for play with the children.

     Dinner was fun. We remarked that we had all skin colors and hair colors at the table...light, Asian, and dark skin...blonde, brunette, red, black and even gray hair. Conversation was fun. I told about my second, chance meeting with the same man outside the Walmart in two weeks. He was taking donations "to decrease heart disease and diabetes." He had books on a table covered with a canopy. Two weeks ago I found out he was from the Seventh Day Adventist Church. We shared aspects of our religions and focused on what we agreed on. We even prayed together before parting. I learned that Seventh Day Adventists believe strongly in taking care of the body and they eat a macrobiotic type of a diet.

     In the last two weeks I learned more about his religion and his way of eating. The latter I incorporated more into my life and have been blown away by the results. I feel so much better eating a diet composed more largely of whole grains, vegetables and legumes. I really don't see myself ever becoming a Vegan, but the simple changes I've made have been very calming (to my usual hyper-anxious state of feeling the need for multiple radars on my head for keeping track of so many little ones). And I have had more energy and less joint pain. I encourage you to read more about a macrobiotic type of diet, as it makes so much sense. The American diet is more and more in the media as to its adverse effects on our bodies and lives. I'm living proof that you don't need to go hog-wild to see positive changes.

     I saw the man again yesterday and I had to stop and thank him for his role in my research and changes in my diet. We talked more about our faiths, and I had to point out that what he believes my Church teaches is not what it actually teaches. I hope he listened. I told him that it's my belief that Satan does exist, and so his prime target is all that God holds dear...Christ, faith in Him, the Sanctity of Life, the family, Christians, the Church. For my friends who disagree, I urge you to read "The Screwtape Letters," by C.S. Lewis. You may not be convinced, but you will understand other Christians better.

     What did Burt Bacharach write? "What the world needs now, is Love, Sweet Love..." So true. Love will come better with understanding. In the end, God will be the judge. I do believe there is an ultimate truth; it is not relative. Circumstances may be relative, but truth is not. Mercy is relative...and that's where God will be just. In the meantime, we're called to be like Him. We may not agree in this life--but we certainly will in the next. Christ's desire is that we are all with Him in eternity. We are called to "...make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence..." 1 Peter 3:15.
We do it not out of pride, but love. Sweet love.

God Bless you,


The Abbey Farm

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

And Summer Vacation Begins...

The end of the school year brings joy and readjustment. More children are at home all day and I have to draw on skills learned from my homeschooling days to construct a schedule. If I didn't, it would be chaotic. Teens cannot sleep all day, boys cannot watch TV and play video games all day, toddlers need structure. We all need structure. We first got the idea from who called it "Camp GonnaWannaFly." The kids now call it "Camp Abbey Farm".

Essential is the monthly calendar. We put holidays, birthdays, events, feast days, appointments and planned dinners on it. I do plan meals at the beginning of the month. Each week or every few days has a theme. Oregon Trail, Pony Express, Dairy Day, Aerospace Day, Everything About Goats Day, Pond Ecosystem, Pirate Day, are but a few. Today was Birdwatching Day. We didn't see as many as I thought we would, but we had a great hike, took notes, and ate GORP.

Great Blue Heron flew to the top of the tree!

Mom got a workout, Two-year-old got a ride. She started out with a hat...

Ben's rendition of the Heron on the Tree

On the way back to the house, Max stated, "I shall cherish this day for the rest of my life."

I will too, Max. Can't beat that for the first week of summer vacation.

God Bless you,


The Abbey Farm