What might have been

Written March 19, 2015

Today was a long day. I’m weary. Today was Dale’s birthday. Today could have ended much differently than it did.

As I sat at the kitchen island, eating a piece of chocolate cake, my mind went to what happened earlier this evening. To what could have been. To what I see as a miracle.

We are leaving for the cabin this weekend, and tonight was my turn to have off from milking, so Kirsten was out watching Jenna and her 2 little cousins. ( We live beside and farm together with Dale’s sister and her husband.) She was loading trash onto the gator, and the little ones were wanting to sit on it, of course. She made the mistake of sitting Jenna on the seat, while it was still running and in reverse.

I was upstairs trying to get some packing done, when I heard the rev of the gator engine. At first I thought it was a certain boy, but when it didn’t leave up, I ran. And as I ran, I remember crying out to God. Because I knew it was Jenna. I remember hearing the crash. And I ran to the front door, yanking on it, scared to see what I might have to see. And the door wouldn’t open. I must have pulled on it 3 times trying to open it. I don’t even think it registered to me that my counter top was pushed front, blocking my way. And then Kirsten said “Everyone is ok!” I ran back into the living room and out that door. The children were crying. And all I could do was grab my baby and hold her tight.

Our house had a hole in the front wall.20150322_172350 We had just redone it this past fall. I didn’t even care. My mind could hardly grasp how no one was injured. Both children on the gator are 3 yrs. old. Only a miracle.

And when everyone was calmer, and I walked back into the house, this is what I saw. Sink piping pulled apart, cracked cupboards, a bent stove with a shattered top, counter tops pushed front.20150319_180049 20150319_180103 20150319_180514 20150319_222128 It was unbelievable. And my mind replayed it, “What if, what if??) God spared their little lives from injury, or perhaps even death. I have no idea how fast that gator was going, but it had speed. Shane (Randy and Diana’s son) was on the passenger seat. Another thing, they had a step they bounced up over before hitting the house, so that would have slowed them down a bit. If the gator had not been in reverse, it would have been so much more serious.

I cannot write this without crying. I am so humbled, and beyond grateful, that they are ok. I am convinced of the power of God. Reminded again that none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.

Yes, it is going to cost us quite a bit to fix the damage. Kirsten felt so badly. And I told her it doesn’t matter. Because it truly doesn’t. Our material things can be replaced and fixed. Lives cannot.

Like I said, the above was written the night this happened. I tweaked it a bit now, simply because I was so tired when I wrote it, some things sounded wrong. I just felt a need to pour my thoughts out that evening. My form of therapy.

I have contemplated this incident so, so many times this week. And wondered why do these things happen? Why were we sparedΒ  heartache while so many others weren’t. If you read my blog, you know I talked a bit about Kara Tippetts. March 22, she lost her battle with cancer. A young mother, with 4 children, and a loving husband. Why?

In my previous posts on Haiti, I posted pictures of a set of twins, whom we got to visit and hold. My sister Sherita emailed this week saying the little boy, sweet Michael, passed away, most likely from pneumonia complications. I felt so sad! His poor mother is in a hospital, battling tuberculosis. A family with so little. Why?

Sometimes this old world just doesn’t seem fair! Like it takes us, spins us, and leaves us hanging. But we don’t live in a perfect world. And we will experience sorrows and trials. And while we don’t understand everything, God sees and knows the bigger picture. He cares for each of us, no matter what we may be facing!

So I guess I just want to encourage you to cherish each moment, hug your children tight, tell your family you love them, make the most of this life you’ve been given. We can’t go back and redo yesterday. We have today.

On a brighter note, despite all the sad news of this week, I was so blessed. When you don’t have a working oven, you feel a bit handicapped πŸ™‚ My Mom brought us a meal one night, and another night my sister and her husband blessed us with pizza and salad. I discovered just how much extra time I have when I don’t have to cook πŸ™‚ I do have a new stove now, so we are back in business, even though it doesn’t fit in the “slot” till my kitchen gets fixed πŸ™‚ And Dale bought a flexible pipe to temporarily hook up my sink, for which I am very thankful!

I hope you have a good weekend, enjoying good times with family and friends! Thanks so much for visiting, friends!

*Please keep the Tippetts family, and little Michael’s family in your prayers. Also please remember my sister Sherita and her family, as they relate to this family during this sad time. I know they were quite attached to these little twins.

Making Donuts

A fun day with my Mom and sisters. We missed you, Sherita! We made lots of donuts. Not sure how many, but it was a lot of frying πŸ™‚

Jenna, and my nieces Ava, and Mary Ellen, watching the process. phone feb and march 2015 226phone feb and march 2015 225_edited-1phone feb and march 2015 227_edited-1My Mom and 2 sisters, working while I took pictures πŸ™‚phone feb and march 2015 228_edited-1The crazy monkeys that played and made messes.misc. Feb and March 005phone feb and march 2015 229_edited-1Little taste tester πŸ™‚phone feb and march 2015 230_edited-1 phone feb and march 2015 231_edited-1I think I gain weight just looking at them πŸ™‚ They were tasty! And I still have some in the freezer that I’m saving πŸ™‚

I so enjoy these times with my family! And just to show you what the children kept busy doing..phone feb and march 2015 232I wasn’t going to show a picture of this room, because I really dislike it, but this just cracked me up too much not to πŸ™‚ They know how to make a mess, don’t they? I cleaned up a little bit, but I was going away that evening, so I didn’t have time to do it all. I asked the children to clean up, and I went out for supper with some friends, and came home, and they did a great job at tidying up. Win for me πŸ˜‰ Great memories!

Hope you are having a good week!

Enchilada Casserole

A few posts ago, I posted this picture.20150312_182709One of my faithful readers said I should post the recipe. So here you go. For you, Jenny πŸ™‚

Layered Enchilada Casserole

1 lb. ground beef

1 onion, chopped

2 cups salsa

1 can (15oz.) black beans, drained & rinsed

2 Tblsp. taco seasoning mix or chili powder

1/4 cup Italian dressing

6 flour tortillas

1 cup sour cream (I used at least 2 cups)

1 package Kraft mexican style shredded cheese

Directions

Line a 9×13 in. baking dish with foil, with ends extending over sides. Brown meat with onion. Drain. Add salsa, beans, seasoning, and dressing. Mix well. Arrange 3 of the tortillas in a single layer in baking dish. (The recipe doesn’t say to grease the foil, but I had trouble with it sticking, so if I make it again, I will spray the foil with cooking spray before adding tortillas). Cover with layers of half each of meat mixture, sour cream, and cheese. Repeat all layers. Cover with foil. Bake covered, at 400 degrees, for 30 minutes. Remove foil. Bake an additional 10 min., or until heated through. Let stand 5 min. before serving.phone feb and march 2015 297

Serve with chopped tomatoes and lettuce. I also ate mine with extra sour cream, and I tried some with Ranch dressing, and that was good too πŸ™‚ Enjoy πŸ™‚

Find the joy

I know I post often on motherhood topics, but it is where I am at this stage on life, so bear with me πŸ™‚

Our barn is set up with an overhead door on the end, and it’s finally warming up a bit so we can keep the door open sometimes. I love it, because I can see out, and catch glimpses of the children when they are outside. Tonight as we milked, it was a bit chilly, so we only had it open a little bit. It was enough for me to see a pair of little legs, clad in pink boots, running back and forth on the front walks, followed by 4 furry legs, running behind her. How it made me smile.

I know all too often that I neglect to take notice of the little things. So quickly they grow up, no longer the tiny, crying babes we brought into the world. I read something from a young mother that really caught my attention. I don’t remember her words exactly, but she said something about how are children were given to us, they are our mission field. And she really encouraged mothers to remember that.

This really spoke to me. Sometimes I think it can feel like we are so busy taking care of our families, and not doing enough to help others. Don’t get me wrong, I think we must take time to be there for others. But in meeting the needs of our children, we are doing what God has called us to do. We are raising little souls.

I know I do not always think of it that way. When life just feels hard, and you are tired of all the messes, the fighting, the crying. But perhaps, if we can think of it as fulfilling our God given role, we can be encouraged, and keep on training, disciplining, and loving our children. Our blessings from God.

My prayer for you this week, is that you can be joyful in what you are called to do. That you take notice of the little things, and that you smile πŸ™‚

And because I find it hard to do a post without photos :), here are some shots from my phone, of the little moments we’ve had lately.20150309_134932Taking a walk while waiting on Tristan to finish his vision therapy session.20150309_080927“Helping” me wash dishes.20150310_151704Delicious oreo cheesecakes from a sweet friend {you know who you are} πŸ™‚20150306_094711Having her hot chocolate.20150308_164145My sweet boy and our farm dog, hanging out with me at milking time.20150306_065507Playing with toothpicks in the morning sun.20150312_182709Enchilada casserole.20150313_130655Hittin’ the books πŸ™‚20150304_095649My 2 silly girls ❀20150311_185024Sunset photo from a walk out the farm lane. God’s beautiful masterpiece.

Owen

I took Owen’s pictures while we were in Haiti. He is Harold and Sherita’s youngest. Sherita is my sis if you are new to my blog πŸ™‚ This guy is so cute! And his spiked hair! Melts me πŸ™‚Hati, Owen, Misc 116_edited-1 Hati, Owen, Misc 117_edited-1 Hati, Owen, Misc 119_edited-1He wasn’t going to cooperate, but we acted crazy, and gave him space, and snapped fast πŸ™‚Hati, Owen, Misc 121This was his” I’m not going to smile for you face.”Hati, Owen, Misc 122His “What’s happening over there face”Hati, Owen, Misc 124_edited-1 Hati, Owen, Misc 125_edited-1And then that grin πŸ™‚ The above picture is one of my favorites! And this old gate. Loved it!Hati, Owen, Misc 127_edited-1 Hati, Owen, Misc 140 Hati, Owen, Misc 140_edited-1 Hati, Owen, Misc 147_edited-1I had fun with him! He is a busy, determined little guy. Reminds me of my own little ones πŸ™‚ I guess we are related πŸ˜‰

Have a great day! ❀

Beef Stroganoff Sandwiches

2 lbs. ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 tsp. salt

1 loaf french bread

butter, softened

16 ounces sour cream

12 ounces cheddar cheese

Cut bread in half lengthwise. Spread with butter.Tristan's bday and winter Jan. 2015 042Brown beef with onion. Drain and add salt. Remove from heat and add sour cream.Tristan's bday and winter Jan. 2015 045Spoon on bread.Tristan's bday and winter Jan. 2015 046Top with cheese.Tristan's bday and winter Jan. 2015 048Bake at 350* for 20 min. Slice and enjoy πŸ™‚

I love this for a quick meal! We like eating them with Ranch dressing or b-b-q sauce.

Happy Monday to you! I’m feeling that Spring feeling in the air! Because I can’t wait for Spring, here are a few pictures from last Spring.mostly Jenna 007spring 2014 010 spring 2014 023_edited-1Before we know it, it will be green and flowers will be blooming πŸ™‚

Snow Days

Yes, we have had plenty of those^. And this is especially for you, Harold and Sherita, in case you forgot what snow looks like πŸ˜‰misc. Feb and March 004There was ice skating on the driveway.

misc. Feb and March 012_edited-1There was snow to be tasted.20150226_101150There was photos to take.20150302_083530There was driveways to scrape. With little people, of course πŸ™‚misc. Feb and March 017_edited-1There was exploring to do.20150301_161620There was calves to chase back in pens. (This was after we had them in the pen, and Tristan was guarding them till we found a bolt to keep the gate shut.)misc. Feb and March 025_edited-1 misc. Feb and March 027_edited-1There was gates to climb.misc. Feb and March 030_edited-1 misc. Feb and March 031_edited-1 misc. Feb and March 032_edited-1There was walls to clean off.misc. Feb and March 033There was lots and lots of snow flakes.20150227_175406And there was beautiful sunsets.

And I’m thinking Spring is just around the corner πŸ™‚ Have a wonderful weekend!

Grace

Written Monday evening. Writing is a sort of therapy for me πŸ™‚

I’ve messed up again today. Just a few days ago, when I wrote this post, I was feeling encouraged, energetic, and I meant every word I said. So why is it that I forget so easily? Why do I let my situation get the best of me? I tell the children all the time when they complain that so and so is annoying them, that the only way they can annoy you is if you choose to let them. Easy to say πŸ™‚ I know what some of my triggers are. Too little sleep, too much going, hormones. Some of those can be helped, others you just have to make the best of it πŸ™‚ Today was just one of “those” days, you know? It began with me not getting enough sleep. I never am bothered by caffeine, so I drank a cup of Mt. Dew. Well this was Sunday, and I also don’t sleep 2 hrs. in the afternoon during the week, which is exactly what I did that afternoon. And it was glorious, by the way πŸ™‚ So apparently the nap and the soda worked against me, and I couldn’t fall asleep. So a short night it was. And Mondays are Tristan’s therapy days, so I knew I wouldn’t get a chance to have a little nap. Another tip I’ve learned is that a 10/15 min. nap when you are really tired, can really make you feel lots better πŸ™‚ So being tired, having a husband with an ankle sprain, and children that seemed to fight all. day .long, I caved to the pressure building inside, and my poor children received the brunt of my stress. And I was so ashamed! Why do I do that/ Why do I talk in a nasty tone to them? Why can’t I control my temper? I’m a grown woman, a mother, a wife, but above all, a child of God. And I failed miserably. My head hung in shame, as I thought of all the words that came out of my mouth in a cross, unkind way. In fact, my tender hearted 7 yr. old was in tears because I hurt his feelings. I knew that I couldn’t let them go to bed without apologizing. And they were so forgiving of their tired, grumpy mama. And I prayed, ” God, please forgive me.” And He does. His ever abundant grace and love are there. I wonder if He ever gets weary of this woman πŸ™‚ Sometimes it’s embarrassing to speak of our faults, but I am by no means perfect, and neither are any of you πŸ™‚ Some people I respect and admire seem pretty perfect, but we all know no one is. And my goal is to be an encouragement to my readers, not to come across as having all the answers. I hope if you’ve had a bad day, you will feel God’s love for you, and have a taste of His grace. Grace that is greater than all our sin. And if you have some tips on child training, or learning to control your tongue and your temper, please give them to me! Lord knows I need all the help I can get πŸ˜‰

Tanner

This baby boy is so sweet! And he is my nephew, so I get to see him fairly often, which suits me just fine πŸ™‚ He did so well for photos! I had only taken baby photos once before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but he was a champ. I love all those baby announcements that baby is posed perfectly, but that is not my talent. But even with what we did try, he hardly made a peep.Tanner 2015 002_edited-1I love this one, because it looks like he was trying to hide from me πŸ™‚Tanner 2015 015_edited-1Tanner 2015 040 Tanner 2015 043Little miss energy had to get in on the action πŸ™‚Tanner 2015 049Tanner 2015 054_edited-1Tristan says he wishes this was our baby πŸ™‚ He is my baby lover.Tanner 2015 084Tanner 2015 124_edited-1Tanner 2015 100And some announcements…3_edited-1 tanner 2 Untitled-1Babies are such precious gifts from God! Tiny miracles.

Happy Monday!