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Holy is there

You may be wondering what all this wholehearted, spiritual mumbo jumbo has to do with homesteading.

Let me explain.

It is in the everyday ordinary, in the simplifying, in the refining of priorities that I find peace.

That I feel God.

There is a spiritual current that runs deep in living and working close to the land.  Close to those you love deeply.  The experience magnifies and colors become prismatic as dirty dishes are washed, fresh raw milk is procured, soil is tilled and seed is planted.  Fertile ground of souls are becoming exposed in the act of homesteading, in the art of intentional living.

Holy is there in each sunrise over coffee with my man.

Holy is there in wiping the tears, and soothing frustrations of budding men.

Holy is there shoveling the manure, seeing the shit turn into golden nourishment for roots, providing stimulation for growth.

Holy is there in the quiet corners of day.  In the cyclical rhythms that dance days joyful.

Holy is there in the barn where new life springs forth.

Holy is there around the supper table in the joining of hands, in the grace.

Holy is there when tired bodies and weary souls find each other between the sheets.

Holy is there in the woods, the drip drop song of sap singing its way into buckets.

Holy is there in fields where others have walked before discovering the sacred connection between God and land.

Holy is there in the kitchen rising up yeasty, fresh, delicious.  Providing daily bread.

Holy is there in the whispers of prayers said in darkness.

Holy is there in the hurt, in the moment life leaves behind.

Holy is there in the hope, nest full, fertile promise of warm eggs.

Holy is there in the garden seeds planted in faith.

Holy is there in the tired, in the back-weary dirt under nails satisfaction of providing with own hands from own land.

Holy is there in the every.day.ordinary.

Holy is there.  In the simple, in the moment, in the letting go.

Homesteading, living a simple life, intentional life meets you with Holy.  Meets you on your knees in fresh tilled dirt.  Meets you right where you are at, each and every day.

 

 

Shared with The Barn Hop

http://www.theprairiehomestead.com

 

 

 

Wholehearted Living

What does it mean to live wholeheartedly?

It means showing up everyday, being vulnerable, open, willing to fail, but wanting to put it ALL on the line anyway.  It means that we expose our tender spots so that we can connect deeply with others.  If we cannot show any tenderness from our own hearts, if hardness has taken it’s place, there cannot be a connection that we as human beings long for at soul level.  The result is always feeling disconnected and never feeling great joy.

We cannot experience great joy without first experiencing pain.

We cannot feel blessed if we have never wanted for anything.

We cannot experience God if there is no vulnerability.

We cannot heal if there was never a wound.

If we cannot admit we were wrong there is no forgiveness.

A wholehearted life is a whole life.  Living wholeheartedly means experiencing all life has to offer, not just taking the good parts and saying, “No thanks” to the hard stuff.  It is the hard stuff that sculpts us and re-makes us into a more beautifully unique person, it is where the depth comes, the character refines, and great love is born.

We were created to live wholly, holy.  To be holy.

Holy is from the Hebrew word qadash  (Kaw-dash), a primary root meaning, to be.   To make, pronounce, observe as clean– appoint, bid, consecrate, dedicate, defile, hallow, to be or keep holy. (Can mean a place, as well as one’s self)   To prepare, proclaim, purify, sanctify one’s self.  x wholly.

The hard stuff can also harden hearts.  It builds walls up faster than any master bricklayer to keep the pain out.  To prevent the hurt from creeping in.  But if we harden ourselves, and build walls around our hearts against the risk of hurt, we also harden ourselves to love.  To experiencing a full, complete, whole life.  To experience a holy life.

If we were created by holiness to be holy, if this is our true nature, to truly be, and not to just exist, we must be made and kept.  Think of an artisan, a creator, a glass-blower.  Fire, heat, and pressure, must be applied in the making of beautiful breath-taking sculpture or vessel.  He starts with ordinary pieces of glass and in the process of firing, applying the heat, stretching, in the making, the glass becomes malleable, shapeable.  The artist/creator can then design from the fire, beauty. What started as an ordinary piece of glass, has now become extraordinarily perfected art.

In this keeping, making, refining, and re-making, in living this life, we are coming closer to being whole, being perfected, being created.  Perfected not in the sense of “Perfect”, but in the way of coming into who we were artfully created to be as unique, individual, creative, beautiful spiritual beings.  Coming closer to whole, closer to holy. 

Coming closer to God.

In order to be whole, or holy, we must open ourselves, tear down the walls, and become vulnerable.  Vulnerable is a scary word.  Especially in this American perspective of toughness, in a sense of being untouchable, and undefeated.  In a culture that says we must all be superheros.  We are taught that we cannot and should not show weakness.  Yet, in that very weakness lies our strength.  Vulnerability is not our kryptonite.  Vulnerability is our passkey to connection.  It is the open door to our hearts.  It is where we are met at the feet of Jesus, and the souls of others.  It is in the bending down, and washing of feet that we come to holy, that we come to ourselves.  Where we meet heart to heart, soul to soul.  Vulnerability is where we started in this world.  There is nothing more vulnerable than a naked, fresh with eternity newborn soul.  There is also nothing more beautiful and more holy.

To experience this birthplace of holy, to truly be and not to just exist, to experience God, to essentially experience great love and joy, we must meet in naked tenderness to be wholehearted, to live a whole life.

To be holy is to be  or made whole.

It amazes to imagine that we all have the potential to be holy, to live holy lives, by choosing wholehearted living.

 

 

Wherever you go, go with all of your heart

Wholehearted. 

In the remaking of my blog I was contemplating letting go of my subtitle, my meaning of what this blog was when I started writing nearly two years ago.  After all, we grow and change, maybe this no longer fits my mission, my statement, my purpose.  Maybe its not glamorous enough, or maybe it is the wrong target audience. Maybe its just not me any more. Maybe….

All of this kind of boils down to who am I, and is it enough? 

And bigger yet, should I continue to put myself out there, bare my soul, my heart, be vulnerable to the masses to show that we all really are ok, that we are enough, just as we were created to be.

Imperfect in an imperfect world that screams for perfection.

Talk about an oxymoron.

Let me tell you about my week.

Today is the first day for a week that I haven’t met the sunrise with oceans of tears and desperate knees on hardwood begging for a new beginning.  Hard raspy whispers for release from the death grip of collapsed lung heaving desperate soul language that cannot be formed into words.  My failings spilling out like guts of a lost cause.  Heart shattered, soul pierced pain searing through like such a hot knife, looking desperate wild-eyed for release.  Feeling as if it is too late to right the wrongs, too late to fix the broken.

Just too late.

Too late to go to the baseball game that disjointed and fractured a seventeen year old man child.  Let me tell you when that child is laying in an ER room after a wild ambulance ride, and a wilder mama driving hard to meet where she failed, he is all child and no man, in spite of a beard.  When you walk in expecting the smiling twinkle in his eye kiddo and you are met with incoherent pain, droves of medical professionals, IVs, and screams it shakes you hard.  Rocks to your core when you will that child you birthed to breathe when the flashing screens and lines go blank, even if just for a few seconds.  Those seconds link you to the eternal.  Throws you back into the birthing room, when you were willing life hard fought to come forth and live.  Paining for that life, pushing pulling willing anything for that life.  Your life for that life.  Your body for that body.  Your soul for that soul.  In an ER room where suddenly it feels as if everything is in HD, the color, sound, smell of it so loud and nauseous, so raw, so on the line it can bring you to your knees the reality and fragility of it all.  The veil is thin here.  The dance of the eternal waltzes by, and this mama gasps for air.  Desperate to cling onto anything, since she was barely hanging by a thread to start.

Broken.  One word to define by.  One small word that says so much.

Fractured.  Bones fractured, lives fractured, fragmented, all changed in a moment.  Unsuspecting souls marching through ordinary when suddenly fractures appear out of nowhere.  That strong independent seventeen year old jaw, fractured.  A dream of starting varsity team, fractured.  Supper making, fractured into emergency.  A blow to reality as real as a heavy-weight punch.

How can you still be wholehearted when you are broken?  Fractured into pieces.  Your strong now weak, your whole now fissured in two.  How do you take your broken bleeding heart with you wherever you go?

We break in this life sometimes.

Sometimes this life breaks us.

Cracks us open dynamite wide, exposing the vulnerable raw of hearts.

How do you put the pieces back together humpty-dumpty like?  We know that story didn’t end well with all the kings horses and all the kings men, couldn’t put humpty back together again.

There is only one king who can take the pieces of a broken heart and place them gently together again.

He was made in our image.  Sent to walk this earth.  Sent to break.  Sent to die for us.  To redeem our lost souls.

God knew we couldn’t do it on our own. 

He knew that we needed to experience what great love is.  He knew He would have to go through the birthing, the laboring, the bloody deliverance of it all.  Right there in the dirt and the dark.  God birthed light into a dark world on a dark night to a teenage girl.  He pained and labored alongside.  God watched and waited knowing the pain that would come, but also knowing the joy and the birth of the incomparable love that would come as well.  The eternal parent.  The original parent.  Comfort comes in knowing that God knows my broken mama heart.  He cries alongside me, He holds me tender when no one else will or can.  He soothes fears and scars.  He meets me where I am.  In the dirty, in the messy, in the chaos of being a mama to four boys, a wife to a loving husband, among dirty dishes, and dirty sheets, and mountains of laundry.  He meets me there.  In all His loving glory He covers my mess.  He tells me that yes, I am enough. When I am bone tired, heart fractured, gasping breath on bathroom floor, He gently lifts me up, calls me by name, holds my hand and my heart until it can sturdy and still, and puts me back on my feet again.  Every day, over and over.  Because that is what parents do.  We comfort our children when they are hurting, we love them through the ugly, the messy, the things we call life.  We take joy in their triumphs, we cheer them on, we strengthen where they are weak, we share it all.   It becomes a sacred holy dance that moves us through days.  Holy ground that wells up under feet that walk through ordinary days, not reserved for buildings or temples.  Building Holy in homes, in lives, in families.

So during holy week one mama lived through a little hell.

Holy.

Holy ground under all our steps.

Not restricted, freely Holy, right here, right now. 

Steps on worn kitchen linoleum, in chipped hardwood, the sanitized sterilized ER.

Holy in the moment.  Because wherever you go, I go also.

Wholehearted.

We break.

Fracture.

For reasons beyond our control.  But in this breaking vulnerable we are given an opportunity to be put back together.  New again.  Stained glass heart shards carefully placed pieces of puzzle artfully and creatively arranged into an entirely new beautiful expression of who we are.  Made whole again.  Made beautiful to shine radiant color in light.

  So yes, wherever you go, go with all of your beautiful stained glass heart.

Wholehearted again.

  It is who you were made to be.

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Spring Cleaning & Blog Remodel

Hello!  Gentle readers!

You may have noticed we are up to something on the homestead this week.  I have been working on a little blog remodel and some spring cleaning.  I have been feeling a bit of change coming on for a while, and it felt like the pull of spring was the perfect time to birth a new format/theme for our little homestead blog.  I really want our homestead to be a breath of fresh air for all of you lovely readers.  I want you to feel that you have been here with us, walking through pasture and wildflower woods, sharing the seasonal cooking in the homestead kitchen, gathering eggs right alongside us, and joining us on all of our homegrown adventures.  I want to create a space for peace and breathing room for all of you Homesteaders at Heart to enjoy.  So please come on in through the backdoor, excuse the dust and piles as we de-clutter, reorganize, and create here on the homestead.  Have fun exploring all the new nooks and crannies while I continue to prepare the virtual homestead for you all.

Coffee’s on, and you are so very welcome to stay awhile.

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Homesteading with Heart, Just exactly what does that mean?

Homesteading.  Urban Homesteading.  Modern-Day Homesteading.  Backyard Homesteading.  Sustainable Homesteading.  Self-Sufficient.  Back- to-Basics.  Back-to-the-land.  Agrarian Culture.  Simple Living.

These are just some of the keywords that are being used to describe the movement that is sweeping our nation and others.  Perhaps it is America’s pioneering spirit that is energizing the wave of people, men and women, entire families to seek an alternative lifestyle.  Perhaps it is the long-term economic downturn, of which is neither a recession, nor a depression, of which it remains nameless, but exists nonetheless.  Perhaps it is the unfulfilled restless nature of those who have been working for the man, without fulfilment-money can’t buy happiness phenomenon.  Perhaps it is the generations who have lived watching families fall apart, people succumb to the almighty dollar, the temptation of being happy….if only they had a little more fill-in-the-blank_________.

Perhaps it is just time.

Homestead, as defined by Webster:  noun.  A house, esp. a farm, together with the outbuildings.  A tract of land granted under the homestead act.  2.  To settle land and farm it…to settle land and claim it.

Homesteading as defined by Wikipedia:  Broadly defined, homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency.  It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may or may not also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale.

Time to get back to basics, back to the land, back to what built this country.  The self-reliant spirit of those who pioneered before us.  People are seeking fulfillment, the meaning to life.  Living with all the comforts you can buy apparently does not nourish the soul, as many, many professional, educated, people are leaving the work place, leaving corporate America to pursue a slow, simple, self-sufficient life where what it means to live fully, each and every day trumps the almighty dollar.

The dirt under your fingernails, tired back, whole food raised on your own land by your own hands kind of life.

This is Homesteading.

There is a pull not only on heartstrings, but at soul level longing, something tidal coming.  People, men and women alike are feeling it magnetic like a tide.  A coming home if you will, a longing to return to roots, to perhaps set root not yet established.

 Homecoming to the homestead. 

Slowing to taste life, straight out of a garden tilled by own hands.  Sweetness warmed round by sun, juice streaming down chins joyful.

To taste life straight from the Ball canning jar.

To craft a life from your hands, from your life, on your own terms, not someone else’s clock.  To start from scratch, chicken scratch to be exact.  To wake each sunrise to a crowing of the glory of days.  Not the dull droning of empty sameness.  To walk out to the coop barefeet, damp grass and sunshine, to gather warm eggs for breakfast.  Awaking over golden yellow yolks to a path less traveled.  Life lived in full color.  Awakening all senses, seeing, smelling, feeling, tasting, hearing as though newborn, stirring the soul.

Warm milk in glass jars, warm bread on oven racks, sweet jelly picked by hand with loving devotion, satisfaction deep within.  Living daily in rhythms synced with creation. Natural routine playing out musical as the sunrises, feeling it in your bones, not just the blaring of the alarm sending you into survival mode.  An emergency looking to escape.

Notes of  living energy, emotion engaged, and moving with you, moving through you as the day.  The rhythm of rain on a steel roof beats with hearts just inside barn doors. Old wood framing views of vibrant damp green, electric and alive, lightening quickening muscle, feeling the dampness splash up, smelling sweet hay and manure, as warm milk steadily fills jars. Warm, damp skin felt deeply alive as toes dance through puddles to rain drops staccato rhythms.

Yeasty goodness wafts from ovens raising spirits as dough.

Days cyclical, calendars marked upon body upon soul,  upon earth’s seasons. Roots move down steadily as sun shines from above. Stillness comes as melody playing softly in golden sunlight refracting prismatic through leaves.  Dancing joy as evening graces.  Sweet time marked beautiful around eyes gazing gauzy love.  Veiled thin through years love shines through sheer streaming from hearts.  Living raw, open, fully alive, experiencing all there is, all life is, drinking it in on parched soul.  Filling as glass, soul washed baptismal clean awaiting another glorious crowing to mark the rhythm of days to come.

This is Homesteading with Heart.

Intentional living, radically pursuing self-sufficiency, creative living, and freedom.  A holistic lifestyle of nurturing body soul and spirit living in cooperative harmony with creation. Walking barefoot in grace, dirty toes standing upon grace as garden soil, leaning into seasons and cycles, confidently honoring personal independence with head and heart held high, stepping forward in faith to learn the art of intentional living.

Transforming a life into living.

 

Shared with: The Barn Hop

http://www.theprairiehomestead.com

 

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Homemade Instant Oatmeal

Sounds a bit like an anomaly.  But seriously, why didn’t I think of that.  It is kind of a no-brainer, but we don’t do instant oatmeal all that often, minus the rare camping treat.  We usually do steel-cut oats in the crock pot, or homemade granola with cream. That said the boys relish their rare occasions of instant oatmeal so I thought I would whip some up today.

I stumbled across this recipe on a blog I truly enjoy.  Carmella and her family live in a 665sq ft. cabin in the Rocky Mountains of Montana.  She has 3 boys and a dog, and a loving husband too, of course. They made a radical life change, deciding it was time to live with less. Intentional living, simple joy.  Go read her blog.  Share in their journey.  You will be glad you did.  Click here for a breath of fresh mountain air.

Have I ever mentioned that I live in a 900sq ft. home?  There is a lot of talk about house sizes these days.  Did you know that the average American home has tripled in size square footage wise since the 1950′s?  That is an interesting enough idea, but then you add in the fact that family size has diminished at an amazing rate, it leaves a girl wondering, what do we need all this house for?  Certainly not for people.  Perhaps pets? No, I don’t think Fido needs his own room.  It is easy to fall into the trap of big+house=success.  The average American house is 2500sq ft.  Wow.

665sq ft. or even 900sq ft. looks radical in comparison.  Who knew? Perhaps it is.  Radically saying NO to the norm.  Radically refusing to play the success game, and the debt game.

Radically saying YES to family, to JOYFUL living, to debt-free, soon. 

I will be honest, in the past we have considered adding-on, or building new, bigger, but I am so very glad we didn’t.  Living in a small home comes with big blessings.  At one time, our four boys shared one room.  Two shared a bed even, because they liked to be close to each other when they were small.  They are much bigger now, and still choose to share a room.  Our children know how to get along with others.  Does this mean that they don’t fight?  Certainly not.  But it does mean that they know how to stick by each other until they work it out.  Day in day out we are on top of each other.  Home educating this year has brought us around the kitchen table as a family many hours of the day, did I wonder how this would work in a small house?  Of course I did.  Did I wish I had a home school room like so many others out there on the world-wide web? NOPE.  Being elbow to elbow, nose to nose, day in and day out is what makes a family stronger.

I wouldn’t change.a.thing.

 Honestly.

A beautiful result of a small home is a close-knit family.  We share in each and every joy, and sorrow, there really is no escaping it, not that we would ever choose to.

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Homemade Instant Oatmeal

6 c. old-fashioned rolled oats

2/3 c. brown sugar

1 1/2 T. cinnamon

1 1/4 t. salt

dried or dehydrated fruit

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spread oats on a baking sheet and toast for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to toast evenly.  Cool slightly.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine 4 c. of the toasted oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Pulse until the mixture resembles a rough powder.  Add remaining oats and pulse once or twice.
  • Stir in dried fruit.  Pour mixture into an air-tight jar or container with a lid.
  • To make oatmeal, pour 1/2 c. instant oatmeal mixture into a cereal bowl, add 3/4 c. boiling water, and stir.  Add cream or milk, and a bit of honey, or fresh fruit and nuts, if you like.
  • Homemade instant oatmeal keeps in a covered container at room temperature for 4 weeks, in the refrigerator for 3 months, or in the freezer for 6 months.  (Ours is almost gone already…it’s that good!)

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A couple of thoughts….

I did not add any dried fruit to our base instant oatmeal mixture that way the boys can add what they like to their individual bowls…coconut, walnuts, raisins, dried apples, fresh fruit, etc.

Also this is a large serving of oatmeal…I would say adult serving, so if your kiddos are little, cut it in half by using 1/4 c. instant oatmeal and about 1/3 c. of boiling water.

Enjoy Your Family & Your Homemade Instant Oatmeal

 

Really, it's winter?!

You Know You’re A Homesteader When….

So…..

 You know you’re a Homesteader When….

You watch chickens instead of TV.

You read seed catalogs instead of People magazine.

You bake bread more than once per week.

You cook in your kitchen, not decorate it.

You own more mason jars than you can count, and it is still. NEVER. enough.

You obsess think about what barnyard animal you should add to the mix next.

You have various live and active things fermenting on your countertops.

Your kids think that living science in the kitchen is normal….

You are passionate about raw milk…and cream…and ice cream… and yogurt…and cheese…and all things homemade from home dairy.

You have dirt under your fingernails during growing season.

Your life revolves around seasons….planting/sowing season, growing/watering season (these two could really be lumped together as garden season, is what usually happens around here) harvesting the garden season, hunting season, butchering season.

You have chores to do.

You know that ‘canning’ does not mean opening various cans of whatever for supper.

You have an apron and you are not afraid to use it.

You are home more than you are away.

You have a chicken bucket in your kitchen.

There is a compost pile (or 2)  somewhere on your property.

Your children may or may not have been spotted skinny-dipping in the spring pond in your front pasture. ahem.

You make do.

You use it up, or wear it out.

You make your own chemical-free household cleaners.

You make your own laundry soap.

You make more gifts than you buy.

Your year-round fitness plan is cutting, splitting, and stacking firewood.

You make your own deodorant, hairspray, and beauty products.

You have more essential oils, tinctures, and home remedies in the cupboard than over the counter, or prescription medications.

You have a REDNECK SMOKER.

You have a freezer full of homegrown meats, and home cured bacon and hams.

You have a canning room somewhere in your house.

You smoke meat for fun.

You have homemade wine, beer, or ginger ale on the shelf in the canning room.

You may or may not have been seen hauling goats, through town, with their heads out the backseat window in your ’91 Mazda Protege…that still gets 35 miles to the gallon even though it hardly has any paint left on the body, and sounds like the sweetest Harley you have ever heard.

You may or may not have diapered your goats for the ride. :)

If any one of these things resonates with you, you may be a homesteader, or on the path to becoming one!

Shared with:

The Barn Hop on  www.weedemandreap.com