Category Archives: Scrapbook

Puzzle piece frames

A friend retired from teaching a couple years ago & gave us a bunch of puzzles she found when cleaning out her schoolroom. One of the larger puzzles was missing pieces, but I just couldn’t throw them away… So in a coffee can they went – just waiting to be transformed into SOMETHING… πŸ™‚

Guess this was the year! My original plan was to make ornaments, but I wasn’t happy with any of my samples. Then I became enamored with the words “peace” and “piece”, and this frame/pic is the end result. πŸ™‚

Very indicative of the journey the Lord has us on… πŸ™‚

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Cooperstown 2013

Mike’s dad has been wanting to take the boys to Cooperstown, NY, to see the Baseball Hall of Fame for several years. Earlier this month, that trip came to fruition. Since it’s not a secret I’m pretty good at breaking things at the worst possible time, Mike made arrangements with a farmer friend to take care of feeding hay & thawing water troughs so he could be gone for 3 days. And thankfully, everything went smoothly! πŸ™‚

The day they left was a bit hairy because of a snowstorm, but once they got to I-80 to go through Pennsylvania & into New York, the roads were kept pretty clear. It didn’t take them too much longer than the anticipated 9 hours. πŸ™‚

They said Cooperstown was “postcard perfect”, and they were about the only ones at the Hall of Fame. They had one-on-one special attention so they got to see everything they wanted…almost. Top on their list was to see the Hall of Fame’s card display. But sadly, due to some of the cards showing deterioration, it had been taken down. Once the employees learned my boys were a little disappointed, they made it a special point to take them to see all the cards they still had out throughout the museum. πŸ™‚

They enjoyed touring the tiny shops in the town and searching card shops for treasures… And of course, some fun meals, too… πŸ™‚

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Here are the two pics Paul picked for the post: Mike Schmidt’s jersey & a picture of Troy Tulowitzski. πŸ™‚

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Michael picked these two pics for the post: life-sized, painted wood carvings of Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.

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They enjoyed a wonderful stay at the Cooperstown Bed & Breakfast. I’d say they were a bit spoiled… Their ONLY guests, so they were definitely doted on! πŸ™‚ I LOVE that they got to experience the warmth of a home on their get-away. I truly enjoyed getting to know John & Linda via email communications, and all the Roberts boys had the pleasure of receiving their hospitality in-person. πŸ™‚ Thank You, Lord, for keeping my boys safe on their journey to Cooperstown, and for all the memories they have from this trip. May all those who make the same trek see Your hand behind it all – from gifted athletes, to helpful workers, to friendly caregivers… Amen

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So what did I do with my alone time?? Oh, about 10 loads of laundry (actually FOLDED & PUT AWAY, lol…), made 12 loaves of sourdough bread & several batches of crackers, enjoyed hours of catching up on my Bible study notes, and completed a Christmas gift craft for the boys. While I truly enjoyed my “retreat”, it was music to my ears to hear the sounds of an active home again! πŸ™‚

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Living In Thanksgiving

Mike got creative in the milkhouse this morning to make me laugh, and I thought it made the perfect visual for where the Lord has us right now. We are drying our dairy girls up earlier than “our plan” because of reasons beyond our control…nature is like that. So we are thankful for each drop of milk He has blessed us with this season! πŸ™‚

May we not become bitter for what we do not have, but remember that it is not “our will” that we want, but Yours, Lord. Keep us occupied with gladness of heart, because with You, WE HAVE EVERYTHING WE NEED! Amen

This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given themβ€”for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toilβ€”this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart. (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 NIV)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS! πŸ™‚

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HE has made everything beautiful…

This is the view from our dining room window, looking out across the road. My eyes normally focus on the ugly poison ivy climbing up the telephone pole. But the Lord transformed my perspective this morning…

Father, I am in awe of Your transforming power. By allowing this irritating plant to participate in Your glorious display of Your beautiful creation around me, it reminds me of what You’ve done with my soul. Thank You for opening my eyes to the poison that was fueling me – and then for cleansing me with Your life-giving flow so that I may be as white as snow. Amen.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV)

β€œCome now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. β€œThough your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. (Isaiah 1:18 NIV)

Visit with my Dad – September 2013

My Dad moved to Arizona back in 1999. Over the years, he has made several trips back to Ohio, but we think it’s been about 3 years since he’s been here last. It was nice to spend time with him last week as he was in town for his 50th high school class reunion. πŸ™‚

Limo tour – farm style… πŸ™‚

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The boys have been creating shooting ranges throughout the farm with Uncle Ben this summer. They were excited to show Grandpa – and I enjoyed watching them all take a turn. Also learned that my Dad shoots “lefty”! Which led to a conversation that he also used to bat left-handed, as well… I never knew that. Perhaps that’s where some of my leftiness comes from? Though he did say the reason he batted lefty was because it was easier to see the ball since the vision in his left eye is so poor… Grandpa did well at hitting the different targets as well. πŸ™‚

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We had such beautiful weather! πŸ™‚

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My Dad spoiled us with treasures while he was here. He gave the boys his autograph book from when he was a boy. Got to hear the story about when his Little League team won their division (in the 50’s), they had a father/son banquet where the Indians’ announcer was their emcee. He held a raffle for the team for one boy to sit in the Indians dugout for a game, and my dad won that raffle! My Dad shared his memories of his experience & some of the names we were able to decipher right off-the-bat (pun intended, lol) in his book were Tris Speaker, Rocky Colavito, and Larry Doby. It will be fun to try to figure out who the other names are. He was also given a baseball signed by the team that day, but while he went away one summer to work on a farm as a teenager, he said his younger brothers used the ball to play with, lol… It was funny hearing him tell the story to my boys. πŸ™‚

The autograph book also contains signatures of Cleveland Browns players from when my Dad used to visit spring training camps. We aren’t football fans, so figuring out those names will be a little more of a challenge. πŸ™‚

My Dad also brought the boys a bunch of my brother, Mark’s, old baseball cards. (Mark lives in AZ, too.) So my boys have been enjoying reading/sorting/analyzing a lot of baseball stats lately!! I see it as a sneaky way to keep their minds workin’ – I am continually amazed at the data they can spit out about players’ stats/histories. And I love hearing them talk strategy based on stats. Makes reading & math more fun around here! πŸ™‚

A “must-stop” for my Dad is always the Minerva Dairy. Since he says cheese out in AZ is $9 a pound, he stocks up when he visits. He bought us some, too, which was an extra special treat. Unless it’s for homemade pizza, cheese is a luxury around here. We all LOVE IT, so we’ve chosen to not buy hard cheeses until we can make it ourselves or are out of debt – whichever comes first, lol… Until that day, you can catch us browsing through Heini’s in Amish Country once in awhile to get our cheese-fixes satisfied! πŸ™‚

And then came the biggest surprise… My Dad announced he wanted to buy us a four-wheeler for the farm!! Mike & my Dad spent time searching Craigslist & making phonecalls, but there really weren’t many used ones (close) for us to look at. Finally, right before bed one night, Mike decided to check Craig’s list for a neighboring county and low & behold there was ONE listed. We went to bed praying that it might be “the one”. The next day when Mike called the number listed, it ended up being someone WE KNEW!! πŸ™‚ Oh, what a comfort that was. And yes, it was “the one” for us. πŸ™‚

So now it will be understood why the rest of these pics are centered around an ATV. πŸ™‚

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ATV training 101… πŸ™‚

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Grandpa has his own ATV in Arizona that he enjoys exploring on with his friends. So when he had his turn to drive ours, he drove in a way that made us laugh… I think Paul’s comment was, “Grandpa looks like an old James Bond!” πŸ™‚

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Much time has been spent in discussions with our boys on the difference between “joy riding” and “enjoying while riding”. For the most part, this vehicle will serve as a very valuable “tool” on our farm (for hopefully a really long time). Which means, it should never go above 20 m.p.h., no stunts are to be practiced, & no trails will be blazed through the woods that aren’t created first. That being said, there is nothing wrong with “enjoying” oneself as it’s being used! πŸ™‚

It came with a snow plow, too, so it will have many functions. Mike and the boys are already scoping out our scraps to create various “toolboxes” they can easily add to the front or back racks, depending on what they are doing: fence work, transporting milk from the milkhouse to our place, moving calves next year, workin’ in firewood, etc. This will also be a huge timesaver/kneesaver for Mike, as much of his day is spent on-foot. πŸ™‚

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It was really nice to spend time with my Dad. The older I get, and the more I grow with the Lord, I see how important relationships are. Too often I’ve allowed disappointments from the past, to keep me from growing in the present. It was fun to see attributes our boys have inherited from my Dad…and I say “inherited” because they’ve only been with him a handful of times – not nearly long enough to have learned it from him by observation. Like the way they clear their throat or the expressions they use as they describe something or the way they stand or move their legs… And it was fun to all cook together in the kitchen, and watch my boys prepare creative dishes that he enjoyed both eating & watching them prepare. By far, though, the highlight of the visit for me, was the morning my Dad joined hands with Mike & I as we began our day in spoken prayer. I have never prayed like that before with my Dad. It was beautiful, and I am grateful. Thank You, Lord.

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End of season prayer…

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A prayer as I meditate onΒ Psalm 90:12-17

Father, as one season ends and another begins, I pause and offer You praise and thanksgiving for Your abundant blessings. You have provided above and beyond what we needed, so that others could take part of the harvest, as well. Your Words are fueling me with the energy I need to complete what’s before me… Thank You for teaching me how to number my days aright so that I can gain a heart of wisdom. I feel Your compassion as I put one foot in front of the other – even when I can’t see where that next step leads… Not only do You satisfy me in the morning with Your unfailing love, but the whole day I can’t help but sing for joy when I focus on Your gifts! I am glad for each day that You have afflicted me with – for every year that I have seen trouble. You are showing me Your deeds, and Your splendor to my children. May Your favor rest upon us as You establish the work of our hands – YES, ESTABLISH THE WORK OF OUR HANDS!! Amen.

Paul – 13 today!

Brushing the cobwebs off the blog & getting a quick post up in honor of Paul’s 13th birthday today. Wow – can’t believe our baby is officially a teenager now! πŸ™‚

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Our pudgy, big-footed, cuddler has grown into a tall, lanky, huge-footed, independent, & handsome young man! πŸ™‚

I’m still hoping to get a picture of us today, but if I wait on that to happen, there’s a really good likelihood this post will never get published, lol. So here’s a pic from cousin Sarah’s wedding reception on August 3rd… πŸ™‚

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Bull in – 2013

Finally getting around to getting this posted. Here are the pics from when our bull, Cleatus, joined our dairy girls on June 9th:

Instructions from the “head honcho”, lol…
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Cleatus was with the yearling bulls in “The Shire” on the left. Mike & Michael are in the adjacent field, “Prancing Pony” on the right. They are getting the bulls to walk down towards the gate that connects the two fields. Then they sorted Cleatus by himself & kept the younger bulls in “The Shire”. A little bit stressful, but it all turned out well. πŸ™‚
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Here you can see Mike leading Cleatus towards me & Paul (in “Mordor”), with Michael behind Cleatus.
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Paul’s job was to open the fence to let Cleatus through once he saw him getting close… Didn’t want the curious dairy girls to mess things up!
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And here he goes… I think it’s cute how the girls are watching him, lol… πŸ™‚

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We’ll keep Cleatus with them for 8 weeks. In the past, we’ve done 12 weeks, but we’d really like to close our calving window a bit. We keep track of the girls’ heats on a big piece of glassboard in the milking barn. When the vet comes this fall to pregnancy check the herd, those dates help us determine their due dates. πŸ™‚

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We are prayerful all our girls will get bred. This is another difficult part of farming – praying & waiting. Although, come to think of it, isn’t that the challenge of daily life? πŸ™‚

Father, prepare us for what is to come for our dairy herd this fall. We pray their bodies are healthy & fertile. May our grasses nourish and sustain them so they can continue to do the same for us. We thank You for the calves and milk they’ve blessed us with this season, and we look forward to seeing how You continue to lead us. Amen.

Garden’s planted 2013

Yesterday, we wrapped up planting the garden. πŸ™‚

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Markin’ off the rows. LOVE Grandma’s wheelho! πŸ™‚

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Brittle, broken fenceposts make great row markers, lol! πŸ™‚

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Coverin’ up the corn…

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Boys helping Grandma plant, lime, and water the tomatoes… πŸ™‚

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Lord, we give You our garden: the seeds, the plants, and the labor. We trust that You will give us exactly what we need for moisture & sunlight. And when our harvest comes in, we know it will be the perfect amount to feed us and share with others. May it nourish the bodies of all who partake of it – fill us with what we need to help You with Your harvest! Amen.

Lessons from a washing machine

Our washing machine officially “died” in March. Yep – right before calving, resumed milking, and baseball season began. You know – the height of laundry season?!

Can’t just go out and buy a new one (or even a new “old” one) because we are still in our consequence from when we began farming from our lost perspective – for the “money” in niche farming. When you spend all your “nest egg” + take on unnecessary debt to fan the flames of worldly success, it leaves you with no “pot” to dip into for routine maintenances, let alone any unexpected breakages. And this season has been FULL of those… Even though we’ve repented, received forgiveness, and discontinued irresponsible spending habits, it doesn’t erase the circumstance that was created as a result of it. We understand that. We accept that. And we pray everyday that others will learn from our mistakes, so others can avoid making the same ones. THAT is how the Lord redeems things – as we admit our mistakes, grieve in repentance, shed our tears, and share it in our relationships – He gives us endless avenues to glorify Him IN ALL THINGS! And here’s what we have been learning: we may NEVER be out of our financial consequence while we live here on earth – Scripture speaks of NO GUARANTEE that life for a Christian will be trouble-free. But Scripture DOES say that the Lord never leaves us nor forsakes us. HE’S WITH US IN OUR TRIALS WHETHER THEY ARE FROM THE RESULT OF A CONSEQUENCE OR NOT! And so if we don’t allow Joy to overflow from our redeemed walk with Jesus NOW, then we are missing opportunities to witness for His Kingdom WHILE WE STILL CAN! And then there’s this revelation, that’s REALLY been sinking in lately: if no more of my prayers get answered before I die, isn’t what Jesus did on the cross for me ENOUGH for me to give Him the rest of my life EVEN IF it’s hard? Can’t believe how much that question has given me pause these past weeks… Because when I say that question, I KNOW the answer is UNDOUBTEDLY – YES… Yes, my Savior HAS done something for each one of us that we don’t deserve and will never be able to re-pay Him for – whether we accept the gift or not… And so shouldn’t my suffering be my offering to Him as I walk in obedience & thanksgiving for His sacrifice for me? Thank You, Lord, for all the sermons, programs, & blog posts I’ve had the privilege of hearing & reading during this season.

The Lord has used this time without a washing machine to grow me in ways I would NEVER have chosen. I didn’t WANT to ask Mike’s parents to borrow their washing machine… They already help us so much! I wanted to roll our quarters and go to the laundromat so I wouldn’t have to tell them… But when you have to roll quarters to have money for gas to go to ballgames, there are no quarters left to take to a laundromat. Especially for three months worth. I have felt broken, and humbled, and overwhelmed, as one-by-one the “tools” I need to fulfill my duties as a wife and mother have been chipped slowly away. I know: it’s “just” a washing machine. Yeah. But it’s so much more than that! First the washing machine. Then it was my kitchen scale, and then – horror of horrors – our oven last week…

But what better way for the Lord to grow me in my reliance upon Him, than by allowing “my tools” to crumble? How easy it is for me to encourage others to “consider it pure joy when trials are faced, because the testing of our faith develops perseverance”… (James) Until it’s MYSELF I’m telling that too. Yikes. Makes that Truth a little harder to swallow. BUT IT IS TRUTH!

The Lord has helped me to accept help from others, share my struggles with those in my path, and has given me plenty of opportunities to practice leaning completely on Him for my daily provisions. And He has done exceedingly and abundantly more than anything I could have thought or imagined – the scale fixed, the gift of money to order a new heating coil for the stove, and now, a new washing machine!!!??? Wow.

I can honestly say this is the most beautiful washing machine I have ever seen. And that I NEEDED to experience a “season” without one, to truly embrace its loveliness. πŸ™‚

Oh the parallels with my Christian walk! Because I experienced a 37 year “season” without Christ, the beauty of my salvation in Him for the past 3-1/2 years, completely overshadows that darkness now. And I can’t help but not share His mercies as I walk in the Light.

So we thank God for you, anonymous washing machine donor… May we, too, be able to be the hands and feet of Jesus for those He brings to us. πŸ™‚

[1 Peter 4:11, Joshua 1:5, Romans 15:13, Hebrews 13:15-16, James 1, Proverbs 3:5-6, James 4:7-10, Ephesians 3:20-21, 1 John 1:5-7]

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