Christmas On The Farm

One of the chicks that hatched on Christmas Eve.
One of the chicks that hatched on Christmas Eve.

Christmas this year brought an unusual sight in Texas- snow! We had a wonderful time with family gatherings at my Grandmother’s house, my parents house, and my in-laws house.  Each year you can count on fun, family, and good food.  This year was no exception.

I am not surprised by the snow, not because it was common, but because of something I said to Jonathan a few weeks prior.  Every now and again, Jonathan will get fixated on a subject and relentlessly bring it up in conversation.  Snow at Christmas was one of those topics.  Again and Again, he would say, “Remember when it snowed at Christmas… I hope it snows again.”  To this I would reply, “you remember wrong, it does not snow at Christmas in this part of Texas.”  Well one day I had enough and basically yelled, “IT DOES NOT SNOW AT CHRISTMAS!”  As soon as the words left my mouth I had this inkling in my gut that I might just get proved wrong due my hateful response to the only kid I have left in my house that still gets excited over the little things at Christmas, like watching every Christmas movie we own and listening to Christmas music all day long.  So, Christmas Eve rolls around and at the gathering at my Grandmother’s house on Christmas’ Eve I was relaying this story to my sisters and cousins as we watched the weather report calling for snow on Christmas.  Then my sister informed me that the year we all took the family Christmas picture that it did snow- nothing stuck, but snow flurries fell all around.

Jonathan with me and Rylie, making Royal Icing
Jonathan with me and Rylie, making Royal Icing

So, I was wrong on both accounts.  I did not count the snow flurries as significant that one year, but Jonathan did remember it.  I think that is what makes Christmas different for children.  They still get excited over the little things.  There is none of the “been there and done that” in their soul yet.  I myself, get wrapped up in the huge and significant parts of the holiday and tend to miss the everyday little things.  However, it is in the everyday little tidbits that we live and make memories.  I hope I do better in the new year.  However, I did do much better this year at staying calm and making memories without getting as wound up as I usually do.

Preceding the snow came some nasty thunderstorms as the cold air met up with the warm air.  Just before all of this weather started up, Tony and I made a trip to the house to deposit the gifts that were received and pick up the gifts that were going to my mother’s house.  While there, we turned on the heat lamps and heater in the greenhouse, fed all the animals again (more feed = more calories to burn and keep them warm),  moved a few goofy hens who wanted to ride out the weather in a hay feeder to the hen house, and generally set things up for the night.  Big weather “events” can be demanding enough on a farm when you are present, but they are really stressful when you need to be away.

As I headed back to my daughter’s bedroom to get a gift sack, I heard chirping coming from the incubator!  The Christmas chicks had begun hatching a day early.  So, we had to get the brooder box ready and put a heat lamp on it.  We placed 3 hatched chicks into their new home with food and water.  The rest would hatch and in the morning we would move all of those into the box.  That was the plan anyhow.

During the wee hours of the morning, the thunder began rolling, the wind howled, and the rain came down.  I began to pray over our animals and our property, a little while latter I heard Tony muttering something and when I said, “What?” he replied, “I was praying.”  Then we decided to pray together.  There was a time when our world had been uncomplicated and storms meant little to us.  That was before we began homesteading.  Now with the experience we have gained ( meaning knowledge gleaned from things gone wrong)  there is a whole list of possibilities of things that could go wrong that run through our minds.  However, you can’t control it so you just have to move on.  We got up and opened presents and had a great time.  Before breakfast Tony ran back to our farm (15 miles from my parent’s house) to check on things.  This way he said he would be able to relax and enjoy things.  As soon as he left the bottom fell out and he had to feed in a torrential down pour.  It was a good thing he went home.  The power had been knocked out and the heat lamp on the new chicks was out.  By the time he got them back to my parent’s house, the chicks were cold and the incubator had cooled off.  My two nieces and my kids each got a chick and rubbed them to warm them back up.  With help and a heat lamp the little guys made it ok.  Sadly, no other chicks hatched, just too  cold during such a important stage of the hatching.

Everyone working to warm up the cold chicks.
Everyone working to warm up the cold chicks.

Due to the weather, Tony and I did not spend the night at Tony’s parent’s.  The kids stayed on and brought themselves home the next day.  However, there were no more complications and Christmas 2012 slipped pleasantly into history.  What a great year it was.

 

Me & my sisters with Grandmother on Christmas Morning
Me & my sisters with Grandmother on Christmas Morning

Gingerbread House 2011

All in the family, a great Gingerbread House!

14 years ago I was a Pampered Chef lady and I sold enough to earn a stoneware mold for a gingerbread house.  Technically is is a schoolhouse, but no one really cares.  That Christmas we made our first gingerbread house, Cheyenne was four and Savannah was two.  We had so much fun.  Cheyenne was intent on putting on the candy and Savannah was intent on eating the candy.  All the while Cheyenne worked Savannah sat back stuffing her little mouth with her chubby fingers saying “It’s bruful mommy, bruful.” She couldn’t speak clearly for all the candy in her mouth and had colored spit running down both of her sides of her chin.

Well, 14 houses later and Savannah still likes to eat candy, but then so does Cheyenne- particularly the hot tamales.  We have added 2 more children, Sierra and Jonathan.  They have grown up making the houses and last year we invited my nieces to build a house with us.  Katie and Rylie came back again this year and added to the fun.

Jonathan is by my side whenever I am in the kitchen.
That makes my heart happy!
Our Masterpiece

The Leading Lady

When I think of the Christmas story I am amazed at the strength of character in these simple people. Thinking about Mary- she was only around the age of 14 when God asked her to carry his son. She said “yes”. What would have happened if she had said “no”? Then I ask myself what kind of young lady was she to have said yes so readily and then see the task through to its very end- the cross. Those around her probably would have described her as spunky, maybe strong willed. (So take heart those of you who have strong-willed kids, God has a purpose for it) Think about it- a mousy, compliant person would not have had the gumption to take the leading role in God’s plan for getting Jesus to earth to save our souls. She also had amazing strength to endure the scorn and the scoffers who did not believe her claims of angels and the Holy Spirit. She was something.Then if you look at her interaction with Jesus at the wedding feast you still see spunk. The hosts of the wedding had run out of wine- a social no-no. So she tells Jesus to fix it. He replies to her “Woman, my time has not yet come.” As a child I wondered how he could be so rude with the use of “woman.” Now I understand the love and mischief with which it was said. I am sure there was a twinkle in his eye and a crooked grin on his face.

Then what did he do? He turned water into wine. I guess either he couldn’t resist her charm or he knew there was no arguing with her- probably both. She must have been loving and charming as well. Look at how secure Jesus was in his calling- you don’t get that kind of kid without loving and supporting them. One day we will meet the mother of our Saviour and will know what she was really like and I am certain we will see a woman of great strength.

The rest of us won’t get the role of leading lady in the salvation story- its already taken; however, God does have a role for us to play that no one else can play. When He asks you to take the role I pray you say “yes”. The world needs you and when you fulfill your role history will never be the same.

Mary, Did You Know?

During the Christmas season when we focus on celebrating the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, I can’t help but think of the crucifiction as well. They are inseparable, without either one there would be no salvation and redemption.

For many years I pondered on Mary, what it must have been like for her. The joy of bringing the Son of God into this world. The bitter saddnes of bringing the Son of God into this world. Being the jewish girl that she was, she knew the prophecies, she knew what lay ahead, she knew the sacrifices she and Joseph had already made to get this baby here. This was her son, too. She loved him as any mama loves her baby. Given all of that, I always wondered why she didn’t get more credit. She gave her son as well as God.

God gave his Only son, Mary of course had more children, but did that really mean it was no big deal that she gave Jesus? Then it came to me- when all of the events of Jesus’ death began to happen and as she stood there and watched him die on the cross- as a human, she could do nothing. It was out of her control. She certainly sacrificed, felt the greif, and was probably so angry she could have spit nails, but all said and done she had no control. Jesus was a grown man and he made his choice to follow God’s path and set us all free from eternal death and restore us to our Creator.

Now God, on the other hand, He was almighty God. He could have stopped the pain with a thought. He could have said “enough” and Jesus’ suffering would have been over. As God, he was in control and he had the power. But, He did not. He gave his only son. How much must He love me and you. He could have stopped his child’s suffering, but He saw the big picture- our redemption- and He restrained himself and let Jesus die. What a sacrifice, what hurt. God felt the same pain, grief, and anger as Mary. We are made in His image, we have feelings and emotions so does He.

God gave his only son…. So Celebrate this Christmas- Our Redeemer Lives!

The Leading Lady

When I think of the Christmas story I am amazed at the strength of character in these simple people. Thinking about Mary- she was only around the age of 14 when God asked her to carry his son. She said “yes”. What would have happened if she had said “no”? Then I ask myself what kind of young lady was she to have said yes so readily and then see the task through to its very end- the cross. Those around her probably would have described her as spunky, maybe strong willed. (So take heart those of you who have strong-willed kids, God has a purpose for it) Think about it- a mousy, compliant person would not have had the gumption to take the leading role in God’s plan for getting Jesus to earth to save our souls. She also had amazing strength to endure the scorn and the scoffers who did not believe her claims of angels and the Holy Spirit. She was something. Then if you look at her interaction with Jesus at the wedding feast you still see spunk. The hosts of the wedding had run out of wine- a social no-no. So she tell Jesus to fix it. He replies to her “Woman, my time has not yet come.” As a child I wondered how he could be so rude with the use of “woman.” Now I understand the love and mischief with which it was said. I am sure there was a twinkle in his eye and a crooked grin on his face. Then what did he do? He turned water into wine. I guess either he couldn’t resist her charm or he knew there was no arguing with her- probably both. She must have been loving and charming as well. Look at how secure Jesus was in his calling- you don’t get that kind of kid without loving and supporting them. One day we will meet the mother of our Saviour and will know what she was really like and I am certain we will see a woman of great strength. The rest of won’t get the role of leading lady in the salvation story- its already taken; however, God does have a role for us to play that no one else can play. When He asks you to take the role I pray you say “yes”. The world needs you and when you fulfill your role history will never be the same.

Parading Around

A few weeks ago, Sierra rode in her first parade. Cheyenne and Savannah carried the banner for the East Texas Stampede- our 4H equestrian drill team. It was so much fun! We also had ponie rides set up to raise money at the Peanut Butter Festival in Grand Saline.

He Gave His Only Son….

During the Christmas season when we focus on celebrating the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, I can’t help but think of the crucifiction as well. They are inseparable, without either one there would be no salvation and redemption. For many years I pondered on Mary, what it must have been like for her. The joy of bringing the Son of God into this world. The bitter saddnes of bringing the Son of God into this world. Being the jewish girl that she was, she knew the prophecies, she knew what lay ahead, she knew the sacrifices she and Joseph had already made to get this baby here. This was her son, too. She loved him as any mama loves her baby. Given all of that, I always wondered why she didn’t get more credit. She gave her son as well as God. God gave his Only son, Mary of course had more children, but did that really mean it was no big deal that she gave Jesus? Then it came to me- when all of the events of Jesus’ death began to happen and as she stood there and watched him die on the cross- as a human, she could do nothing. It was out of her control. She certainly sacrificed, felt the greif, and was probably so angry she could have spit nails, but all said and done she had no control. Jesus was a grown man and he made his choice to follow God’s path and set us all free from eternal death and restore us to our Creator. Now God, on the other hand, he was almighty God. He could have stopped the pain with a thought. He could have said “enough” and Jesus’ suffering would have been over. As God, he was in control and he had the power. But, He did not. He gave his only son. How much must He love me and you. He could have stopped his child’s suffering, but He saw the big picture- our redemption- and He restrained himself and let Jesus die. What a sacrifice, what hurt. God felt the same pain, grief, and anger as Mary. We are made in His image, we have feelings and emotions so does He. God gave his only son…. So Celebrate this Christmas- Our Redeemer Lives!

Getting Merry!

Last night Sierra and Jonathan started bringing in the Christmas bins. Of course, we had to bring in the empty bins and pack up the fall decorations first. It looked like hobby lobby had exploded in my house for a few hours, but finally packed bins moved out and decorating began. I have been reluctant to put up Christmas things before Thanksgiving, but the rest of the bunch won out. I must say that to have decorations already up have relieved part of the time crunch that begins as soon as the turkey leftovers are stuffed in the fridge. Since the decorations are up I can now focus on the gift making, ornament making, baking, and memory making. I am so looking forward to this Christmas. Of course the decorating is part of the memory making as well. We are having such a good time. The tree won’t come for 2 weeks or so. Because we use a live one, we can’t rush that part! Seirra and Jonathan are hanging the “planets” as they call them.

A new calf

Last night we brought home a new heifer. She was orphaned when her mother died. The kids were very excited- any new addition is cause for celebration. Penelope is her given name and she is snuggling down in the barn. While the kids and Tony got the calf settled in, I got dinner ready. I then headed to the barn to check on progress. As I am nearing the barn I see the flashlights shinning out of the loft and the sound of laughter fills the air. Those are the moments that make me so glad to have a farm. The happiness that is shared by the whole family is priceless. I did wonder why they were in the loft. Once I got in the barn I saw all the Christmas bins stacked in the stall. It seems we can no longer resist the urge to pull out the decorations and lights. I love this time of year. To me it is just one long, fun, run of memory making time. That is why the phrase “Happy Holidays” does not bother me. I use it refering to the time from November 1 until January ?- whenever the tree finally comes down and the house is stripped bare. I unabashedly say “Merry Christmas” but also wish you “Happy Holidays”