Friday, March 27, 2015

you are enough, My Beloved

I awoke this morning feeling anxious because my mind always thinks that there is too much to do.

It tells me to hurry and run to the next thing. It keeps me feeling stressed and others feel it, too....especially my children.

During my quiet time, I went to Jesus and asked if there is something else that I need to see regarding this? Is there some way to resolve this anxious feeling?
Don't be anxious. Just turn to Me.

I can't hold it all together, Lord. I keep trying and I just can't. I see other people holding things together just beautifully, but I always seem to be running 3 steps behind or spinning in a circle. Why Lord?? (no answer heard)

Jesus, what do I do with this world that tells me to run faster and do more?
You run your own race. The course is set by Me.You have to let go of this anxiety, Pam. It will kill you.

Is the answer in simplifying? That seems to be a myth to me. Please help me see the truth, Jesus.
It's Me. I am the Truth and the only way to journey successfully through this world. 
Then I heard the Most Beautiful Words:
You are enough, Pam...just as you are. You are beautifully, wonderfully made. I created you with love.

I felt God's love and peace fill me. He kept telling me "You are enough." Finally I was able to say it to myself. "I am enough."

Oh Thank You, Sweet Lord!

I guess this means when I run this crazy "I can't do it all" game, it's really me thinking, "I am not enough." But that's not what Jesus says.

I sat a little longer, thinking about all this. I found myself applying the "enough" to more things:

I am enough.
The kids are enough.
We are doing enough.
The house is clean enough. (haha!)
We are studying and doing enough with school.
I am working on taxes and bookwork enough.
I am cooking enough, shopping enough, doing enough.
My husband is doing enough--he is not behind with his work either.
Everything will work out.
God and His Grace are enough to see us through all our struggles.
I have enough energy and mental strength to do all that needs to be done today.
I am loving enough.
I am living enough.
We are organized enough.
I have plenty of time today--enough!
I am enough!


I feel God nudging me to share this today.

Someone else must need to hear this. These words are for you:

You are enough.
You are loved.
You are precious and dear.
Jesus loves You.
You are His Beloved Child.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Just Fake It

Been wondering where I've been?
Me too.
My life spun out of control for the past year.
My Dad died in March 2014. I was already on rocky ground emotionally before he died.
His death was sort of a nail in my coffin, too.
Emotional healing is hard. Really hard. And it takes a lot of time. At least it has for me.
I've learned a lot in the past year.
I've learned that I don't want to go backwards, and yet sometimes I still do.
I've learned that I have to go back and face the pain, walk through it, to find freedom and healing on the other side.
I've learned that depression and anxiety prefer to play a sick game together.
I've learned that a full night of sleep is a most beautiful thing.

I've recently realized that I've forgotten how to dream and have goals for my life.
Today I decided that even though I feel empty and without dreams, I will create some made up dreams.
Sort of a 'fake it till you make it' plan.
I'm going to keep reading through my made up dreams until I start feeling again...until my dreams become real and important to me again.

One of my dreams is to help others whose emotional life is spinning out of control.
I don't really know how I will do that.
But I know that I can't help anyone in my silence.
....and so I will share.
The up's
The down's
and the building of a life in between.

May God bless your soul richly today.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Anxiety, Part 1

Living with Anxiety is awful.

I've found myself in Anxiety's powerful, life-draining grip for the last few months.  It started with some life struggles and was compounded by the death of my Dad.  Panic and constant anxiety ensued.

I've tried to put all this into a nice, tidy story for you--but frankly, this episode of my life won't submit to a handful of painful, witty paragraphs.

This morning I see that this should be shared in little pieces.  I will share as part of my healing with hopes that it will facilitate any needed healing in your heart, too.

Here is a really good video by Brene Brown about shame and sharing our stories in order to heal.

May God bless you with insight and healing today,


Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How NOT to Have a Perfect Garden!

Check out my potato row!
Now there's some imperfection for you...
Looks like I need to lay off the wine coolers
before I head out to the garden!!

Yes, you read that right.

I don't want you to have a perfect garden!  Perfect gardens never least not in my world.  

Check out this beautiful spud!  He's from some left-over potatoes
that I got from Azure Standard.  Since they are organic, they
started sprouting before we could finish eating them.

It's important that you get over the perfect garden plan. Avoid it!  Set yourself free.  Enjoy your imperfect garden. Have peace and joy in the imperfections.  They are beautiful.  

I'm telling you this because I dream in "perfect".  I research and try to figure out all the perfect answers for every question before it even gets asked.  Sometimes I find multiple answers to each question which really throws me off my perfect rails.  The needed decisions keep piling up and I get completely bogged down in it all.  

Mr. Crazy Spud!

I'm telling you...Don't go there!  Trying to figure out all the right answers and create a perfect garden is really code for "I'm not going to have a garden at all."

That would be sad.

Buy a few plants or seeds and stick them in the ground.  Do your best to help them along, but trust that your plants do not require a "perfect" world.  Their job is to grow and they will do their very best to accomplish that end.  Let them!

There is much to wonder about in the garden.  Turns out, playing in the dirt is good for our soul.

may your day and your garden be blessed,


Monday, May 12, 2014

An Ode to Bread

I don't want to be gluten free!!!

I used to be a pusher!  I was a whole-wheat bread pushin' Mama.
I gave piping hot loaves of delicious bread to hundreds of people.
I equated homemade bread with love.

My family enjoyed and expected a warm loaf of bread with nearly every meal.
My children became bread snobs who scoffed at 2-day old, cold bread!

Then one day, in the blink of an eye, everything changed.

I read a book that challenged me to wonder if eating wheat was contributing to/causing some of the odd health issues that I had.

Wheat Belly (affiliate link) challenged me to stop eating wheat for a while to see if I felt better.

Within 3 days, I had the answer.
My brain fog lifted.  I had energy and could think clearly all day. I stopped needing naps and large amounts of caffeine just to get through the day.

I've been off wheat for a year now.
I'll admit that giving up all those yummy bread-foods has left a little hole in my life.

I would love to wolf down a loaf of homemade bread (or pancakes, crackers, cinnamon rolls, bagels....) right now!  Unfortunately, this just isn't possible.  I've tested the waters.

When I eat wheat/gluten, I experience profound brain fog within an hour (usually much sooner).

What does this brain fog look like for me?
I can't keep my eyes open or focus on people that are talking to me.  (rude, huh?!)
I fight and struggle, but simply can't stay awake.  My body insists that I sleep.

Before giving up the wheat, I stayed at a low-mid level of brain fog all afternoon.

I am so thankful to have clear thinking again, but truly I don't want to walk the gluten-free path!  I'm lazy.  I prefer to fit in and eat what everyone else is eating.  I don't want to be an oddball that requires special foods.

Bottom Line:  I MISS MY BREAD!!!

I'll be sharing more about my gluten-free journey on facebook.  Join me there!  

Have you experienced brain fog or other symptoms of gluten sensitivity?

many blessings to you,


linked to Homestead Barn Hop!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Twin Quilts!

Quilt One

Quilting on Quilt One

This is a first for me--quilts for twins!  I finished them last week and got them shipped yesterday.  Yippee!!

Quilt Two

Quilting on Quilt Two

I'm sure you've figured out that these are scrappy creations.  Sometimes when I want to sew without thinking, I pull out my 2 1/2" squares and make 9 patch blocks.  I have several extremely exacting methods for making these (tongue in cheek, of course!): 

1.  Put together really strange color / fabric combos.
2.  Sew together fabrics that I have enough squares to make a block out of.
3.  Blindly sew the fabrics on the top of the pile.

The recipient twins are a year old and I want them to be able to easily identify their own quilt, so I gave the quilts very different bindings.

Hooray for finishes!!  Lots of Gold Stars today.  :)

Praising God Today!

Linked to Whoop Whoop Friday!  and Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bottle Calf 101

I am friends with Jill at Prairie Homestead.  She asked me to be a guest blogger for her (hooray!), so I compiled this story from blog postings over the last year as we raised a bottle calf. 

If you've been following along for a while, you might want to just skip to the end for our TOP 5 TIPS for RAISING a BOTTLE CALF.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Have you heard the saying, "Be careful what you wish for?"
I should edit that to, "Be careful what you mention to a farmer!"

Early in December (2012) I mentioned to a new farmer friend that we might want to raise a bottle calf this year for beef.  Of course I was speaking way ahead of being ready for said bottle calf and truly had no thought of this happening until MUCH later in 2013.

So guess who calls on December 31?!

This farmer had a cow that had delivered twins and was rejecting the female calf.  He was taking care of the calf that night but REALLY wanted someone else to take her the next day.  He reminded me that she would be sterile due to twin pregnancy with male/female combo.  A little research tells me that the female from this set of twins is sterile 92% of the time.  In other words, she is destined to be a beef cow.

I battled the pro's and con's all night.  I tend to work out dilemmas while I sleep.  When I got up I was certain the correct answer was "no" since we simply weren't ready, not to mention It's WINTER!

Then I went outside for chores.  The sun was bright and glorious.  I could sense God's hope and blessing.

When next I talked with the farmer, I said "yes".  He didn't waste any time bringing her and a bottle over to me.  She wasn't as vigorous as I had hoped when she arrived, but she was ok.  She had just been fed, so we snuggled her into a stall to rest for about an hour.

When I went to feed her, she was chilled and very weak.  She couldn't stand up or drink from the bottle. 

All my medical background and Mommy instincts kicked in. 

I picked her up and took her directly into the house.  We set up our ICU in the laundry room (which just happens to be my sewing nook, too!)  We warmed up hot packs and bundled her in blankets.  I started dripping warm colostrum (saved in the freezer from when our Jersey delivered in September) down her throat with a turkey baster (thanks Dorothy).  She couldn't even struggle.  Sometimes her eyes would roll back and I was sure she was dying.  She had no muscle tone. 

I called my Mom and asked for prayer.  I knew it would be a miracle from God if she survived the night.

This process all started around 4pm.  At 9pm she pulled her legs up under her.  Minutes later she stood up....wobbly, but up.  We put a dog crate in the laundry room and tucked her in with blankets. 

First days spent in the laundry room!

The next morning she was alive!  She even gave a little moo when I went in to feed her.  She took milk from my trusty turkey baster, but couldn't suck from a bottle.

Around 3pm on January 2, she took the last bit of her first quart of colostrum.  It had taken nearly 24 hours to get just one quart in her.  I knew she would get dehydrated if we didn't pick up the pace a bit.  Then another miracle occurred!  She latched onto the nipple of my calf bottle and started sucking.  Next thing I knew, she had drained her 2nd quart of colostrum!!  Praise God!  I broke out in songs of praise.  What a victory! 

"You want me to do WHAT?!"

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Our little New Year's bottle calf has had a rough time getting a foothold in this world. 

At one week of age, her umbilical stump was obviously infected.  She was exhausted and puny.  The vet gave me an arsenal of shots to give her including antibiotics, an anti-inflammatory, and Vit B. She perked right up!  Hooray!

Then about 5 days later, she tanked again.  This time with a respiratory infection.  She became fairly lifeless and I thought she might die.  Our vet (Thank God for vets!) said that she needed a different antibiotic to knock this out. 

The vet explained that cows have bacteria that live in their trachea.  The bacteria never cause a problem until the cow gets stressed and her resistance goes down.  The good news is that this too was promptly eradicated with antibiotics!  (Thank God for antibiotics!)

My sweet dairy cow, Bambi, has not officially adopted the calf, but does allow the calf to nurse just before I milk her. 

The calf doesn't seem offended that Bambi has to be restrained in a steel head gate before she will allow her to nurse!  I believe she is thinking, "Rich, creamy milk...Who cares how you get it!!"

Sunday, February 10, 2013

So any guesses as to what I've been hauling in my van?

Yes, that's Bob the calf.  Apparently some of you didn't get the memo---Last Tuesday was "Take Your Calf for a Drive" Day!  At least it was around here.  The calf needed to visit the vet and all I could think to do was stick her in the back of the Mom Mobile!  We've hauled chickens, dogs, cats, and skads of kids in why not a calf?! 

We did get a lot of funny looks.  I'm glad no on ran into us while they were pointing and gawking.  She practiced her very loud moo the whole way there!

Bob was much more subdued on the trip home after having the abscess in her navel drained. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Growing big and strong. 
We are still battling the umbilical infection. 
This infection necessitated yet another van ride to the vet about 3 weeks ago to incise and drain the abscess again.  Apparently abscesses can reach quite deep and are difficult to cure....(Bob and I can testify to that!)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I've been afraid to say this out loud, but I think it's safe to proclaim that Bob the Bottle calf's navel abscess is healed!!  ALL the Glory goes to God!  He blessed me with a great vet with lots of ideas, who also respected my thoughts and observations.  God gave me patience and endurance to doctor Bob's wound twice daily for about 3 1/2 months.  God also put my previous training as a nurse to good use. 

Annabelle and Bob
(Bob is sad with this new "milkless" arrangement!)

In the end it was most definitely God who strengthened Bob and gave me courage to let the abscess heal over and encapsulate (this flies totally in the face of all that past training!).  I still check Bob's belly periodically and have to sing a little verse of praise every time I realize that the infection has resolved!!

Shortly after the infection healed, I had to make an executive decision and wean Bob away from Bambi (my Jersey milk cow).  I really wanted to let her nurse longer, but Bob was starting to scare me.  That probably sounds strange....I'll try to explain.  Because of so much handling by me, on some level Bob thinks of me as her mother.  This leads to a myriad of problems since Bob rapidly outgrew me in size and strength.  As long as Bob nursed I needed to lead her in and out of Bambi's paddock (unless we didn't want any milk that day).  Bob grew really pushy with me....literally.  She would no longer walk at my side, instead she shadowed right behind me and tried to bump me along with her head.  She would even come running up in the pasture and start head bumping me to get my attention.  Trust me, she had it.  It gave me the creeps and I started being fearful for myself and my kids, too. 

December 2013

Bob continues to be strong and healthy.  She now weighs about 600 pounds.  She is an easy keeper and maintains her weight and condition well on pasture and hay, being fully grass fed.

Unfortunately she still thinks I'm her mama.  This sounds kind of cute, but in reality it's quite dangerous.  Cows use their heads and the strength of their necks to bump each other, push one another around, and even charge to get another cow out of their way.  Because Bob relates to me as a cow, she tries to push and bump me with her head.  She also gets excited when she sees me in the pasture and runs to "greet" me.  I'm thankful that this behavior doesn't get exhibited with any other members of our family.  I've learned to be very cautious in the pasture and work near the fence.

Top 5 Tips for Raising a Bottle Calf

1.  Choose a healthy calf. 

Colostrum at birth, especially during the first 24 hours of life, is the key to long-term health and survival.  The colostrum is filled with antibodies and nutrition that helps build a strong, healthy immune system.  During that first 24 hours, the gut is fully open and ready to absorb those antibodies.  Here is a really good article about colostrum, antibodies, and the gut.

Ideally a bottle calf will spend it's first few days (a week is even better!) with it's mother getting all the colostrum it needs.  But if the mother died or if she is being used as a milk cow, the calf may not have gotten this luxury.  Be sure and confirm that the calf was with its mother for initial colostrum OR that the calf was given colostrum by bottle right away after birth. 

This is key. 

2.  Be prepared.

This is really a tie with #1.  You need to be prepared for the arrival of your calf. 
You will need:
** a calf bottle
** colostrum if taking calf as newborn
** fresh milk or milk replacer
** shelter for inclement weather--cows typically don't require much in the way of shelter, but remember that a bottle calf is already stressed without it's mama, so you want to protect it from any harsh weather. 

3.  If you have a milk cow, use her!

If you are blessed to have a family milk cow, get her in on the action!
When your milk cow delivers her own calf, save some of her colostrum in the deep freezer.  Don't think that you are robbing her calf of these precious nutrients.  Your milk cow produces an over-abundance of colostrum those first days, so store some away.

Give your bottle calf fresh milk from your family milk cow.  This will be a huge savings and is, of course, packed with the best nutrition. 

Consider letting the calf nurse your milk cow when she is secured in the milking stanchion. 

Allow calf to pasture with your milk cow.  One of the ways that mama cow's identify their calf is by the smell of its giving the bottle calf milk from your milk cow, your bottle calf will start to smell like her calf.  This aides in the adoption process.

4.  Cows are herd animals.

Your bottle calf will do best growing up with other herd animals.  Some people raise 2 bottle calves together to accomplish this.  You can also raise your calf with horses, sheep, or goats if you don't have another cow around to befriend it. 

5.  Don't get attached.

I wish I could tell you that this is easy, but it's not.  Calves are cute!  Your bottle calf doesn't have a mother and you may feel compelled to fill this need.  Resist!

Because of Bob's poor initial health status, I handled and mothered her entirely too much.  I hope you will learn from my mistake. 

Also remember that getting attached will only complicate the situation when it comes time to haul away your grown cow--either selling to someone else or taking to the meat processor.  Most homesteaders raise a bottle calf with plans to use the meat themselves.  You will be better able to carry out this plan if you get the bottle calf out into the pasture with other animals asap and let him have a healthy "cow" life. 

So will our family raise another bottle calf?  Yes, most likely. 
Will I follow my own advice--I sure hope so! 

best wishes to you on this journey,

Praising God Today!!