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Farmfit {Who needs CrossFit when you have a farm?}

Have you run into some Crossfit junkies lately? Oh my. They are some serious folks about their workouts. They post their lift pics, their workout plans and even have their own app to share the weight they rocked that day. I only know this…because I’m married to one;). For months, he’s been trying to get me to drink the CrossFit water. But oh my gracious. Read this post and you’ll know why momma ain’t got time for that;). Seriously–who needs CrossFit when you have a farm?

For the first few weeks (okay maybe MONTHS) after moving on the farm last Spring I ended my days with much needed advil and crashed every night like I used to when I taught middle school. This farm life–is no joke.

So the padres came to town this weekend and we had a grand ole time full of shared laundry;), delicious Southern cooking (if I do say so myself) and a few fun farm adventures. We TRADED an obnoxious rooster for 2 goats this weekend. Quite the trade right? Our friends in town decided they were done with goats–and they thought a rooster would be fun…so we happily made the trade they requested;) Bless them. I foresee rooster potpie ahead–and we adore our new friends…


That’s Big Mama on the left and Lil’ Billy on the right. You can’t see Lil’ Billy’s goatee–but trust me…the name goatee comes from him:) They were dehorned as babies–so we are keeping them with our pig in this smaller pasture as they have no way to defend themselves from the other goats or something else. Our Great Pyrenees will hopefully keep coyotes away, and they will be safe:) It was SO FUN having my parents here for their delivery…but especially fun letting them take part in the “catching of the rooster” event. If you’ve never had the joy–trust me…it’s good, hilarious fun for all. Ole Roo was caught–put in a box and taken to his new home to cock-a-doodle-doo to his heart’s content;)

We are sticking to our 10 laying hens (For you non-farm folks…you don’t need a rooster for a hen to lay an egg a day—no fertilization needed here as we have hens a plenty and give away more eggs than we can eat:).

My parents let Richard and I scoot away for the night so we could have a night out–which consisted of World Market fun, trying on hats and an amazing dinner at St.Cecilia (if you are ever planning a trip to Hot-lanta…reservations can be booked online.) Rich was such a gem to let me play while he read the news…and oh my–with the work of 5 kids under the age of 10 and the farm–we needed a little get-away even if it was just for one night!


I didn’t buy the hat by the way…but now I’m wishing I did;).

Then. It was time for a reality check. Labor Day…the parents left for Sweet Home Alabama and it was time to hit the farm. Only we came home to two sick goats. NOT our new ones–but Sugar and Bob. Goats are pretty fragile creatures and eating a poisonous leaf can take them out in 24 hours. We lost 2 boer goats this summer to toxic leaves–and oh my…we are quickly teaching our kids all about loss on the farm through these animals–but I’d REALLY love to not lose Sugar or Bob…so the last 48 hours have been spent giving 2 goats syringes of probiotics and milk of magnesia…while we anxiously await our vet appointment on Wednesday!

I’ve spent my day today nursing these 2 sick goats–and oh my gracious…I just had no idea how much work this would be. I’ve learned so much too. Goats can NOT eat just anything like some might think. I raced to the feed and seed today to see if they had activated charcoal to help them detox whatever toxic plant they got into…and picked up lots of fresh hay. THIS might sound easy enough–but hauling hay isn’t the easiest…and this is where FarmFit verses CrossFit comes in. Y’all. Momma hasn’t been to a gym in 10 years…but working this farm is whipping me into shape. There’s no rest for the weary here. No sir. You gotta do what cha gotta do…so if it means working all afternoon to save goats…that’s what you do–and lots of sweat is involved…and momma was never a fan of heavy lifting or sweat…but maybe it’s good for me;) This pic I posted to Instagram today and my FB status describes the funny that happens here…


My Facebook status today:

“Oh you know. That time you were out working in your back pasture…tossing hay bales by yourself. And you started sweating…and since no one was around you took your shirt off…since you did have a tank top on too. And you see two men pull up in your drive way. So you freak out certain this is how it all goes down at the farm by yourself…and you forget about that tank top or that shirt tied around your waste and you let out a farm girl whistle that calls the dogs…and they beat you to the men…barking a mean bark and you yollar, “What can I help you boys with?” all serious like you’re out of an Olde Western. Then with their ties and suits… they hand you a track jaw dropped and you realize the tank scared them more than the dogs or your intimidating Clint Eastwood voice. I didn’t get anything but a track and they hauled it. My apologies to the men with Jesus Christ Ladder Day Saints who were assigned my street. If you drop in unannounced you never know what you’ll get here! I called off the dogs in the nick of time;) Close call cause you know a Great Pyrenees guards his farm well! And apparently the farmgirl does too;)”

All this. Before 10:30 a.m:)

But I almost left off the BIGGEST things that happened before 10:30am!! Oh my…our ZEKE went to PRE-K today at preschool! He only goes a few hours every morning which makes it possible for momma to teach the other 4…and this year he is the SAME class as one of our best friends! “Even the smallest person can change the course of this world.”–How CUTE is that tee by Transforming Beauty?!


And while my birds were at art and cooking and computer…just a few of the classes the homeschooled bunch take on Tuesdays…this momma worked on the farm and when I took “breaks” inside…I prepared for our school week ahead…


I really want to challenge my kids to see HEARTS…and to be brave with theirs. I want to teach them how to see beauty…not because I have a girl–but because I also have 4 boys…


I want them to love one another. Help one another…and carry one another. Y’all. Today wasn’t perfect. In fact…it was hard. One child had a melt down. I’m not sure if 2 of our animals will make it. And the crazy He calls us to can almost wipe you out. BUT…then you catch moment’s like these…


“Brudder. Don’t worry. I got you.”

And you stand back and you see…that He’s got a plan and a purpose through the hard. We are just supposed to keep our eyes UP and to trust Him…and just take one day at a time.

Easier said than done right? Well–just know you aren’t alone.

So there ya have it. A day on the farm. AND this was a slow, laid back one with the kids off learning today–and tomorrow we’ll have putting goats in the van…and a vet appointment and goat stool samples and new spelling words and math…and some how–it all gets done. And I remember signing up for this but I had no idea all the hard things that came with it. Then I realize–isn’t that how everything is? Whether it’s being a mommy or adoption or a dream job or marriage or anything? We have no idea the hard that comes with the things the Lord guides us to…we only know we want to say YES to them. So we do. And He teaches us, guides us and gives us strength through them. He’s making me FarmFit…and not just on the outside–but on the inside too. I’m learning how to say goodbye a whole lot to things I love, celebrate every bit of life in every living thing…and to treasure each day and everything in it.

Here’s to tomorrow!! May it be extraordinary for you.




Our Curriculum Choices for This Year (5th, 4th, 1st, Pre-1st and Preschooler)

Here we go! It’s my 5th year of homeschooling–and I’m super excited to have 1st graders this year as the 1st grade curriculum is one of the most fun and sweetest! We don’t use any one system–so no “school in a box” here. That works for some, but I’ve yet to find a thorough program that does everything well. So we pick the best of each one and piece meal–all for a purpose. I’m a former middle school reading and language arts teacher, so I’m naturally passionate about choosing a strong phonics program with a solid Orton Gillingham base (There isn’t a workbook on the market that does this well, BUT there is a program that rocks it that’s super easy for any homeschool mom to teach in just 15 minutes a day!) If you ever have questions or suggestions–I’m all ears and would love to support, encourage or hear any other momma in our boat or considering homeschooling. One thing I’ve learned is we really need each other. So please never hesitate to reach out to me or another homeschool mom in your community for support!


Here’s what is on our book shelf for the 2015-2016 school year with a 5th grader, 4th grader, 1st grader and kindergardener by age…but 1st grade ready. You will also notice that some of the grades do the exact same thing! One of our motivations for homeschooling was to be TOGETHER as a family. I tried a hybrid homeschool and with our family having A LOT OF KIDS…I noticed I was asking my kids to learn separately. I was even sending them to separate rooms to learn by themselves! Oh man. That didn’t last long for us. We want to be together as a family–and being together means learning together when possible (history, historical time period read alouds that go with our history, science, and Latin/Greek). For that reason–I’ll just list grade specific things under each grade–and what we do together at the bottom of  with modifications that are made for different levels AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST:)

My 5th Grader…P-man…


5th GRADE Curriculum:

ENGLISH - English 5 Writing and Grammar by BJU

WRITING – Writeshop 1 (Another great writing program we have done that I would recommend is IEW. If your child is in the 5th or 4th grade and has never participated in a program like Writeshop or IEW–you may want to begin in Writeshop at the Primary or Junior levels. As a former writing teacher, I always say that you never want to jump up to a level you think your child should be in before establishing a strong foundation to grow on. It’s better to start easy and breeze on through a program than to jump into a program confused with lots of gaps to fill.)

READING COMPREHENSION AND HANDWRITING PRACTICE- The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease Workbook 4  (We do not do this daily. We started this in 4th grade, and we will continue it with 5th. It’s great for reading and comprehension while introducing the reader to a wide variety of different genres of literature.)

MATH – Saxon 6/5 and DIVE into Math – Just like there isn’t ONE program that is well-rounded, this momma certainly can’t be the expert in every subject;). Y’all. I do not love math. I need someone else to teach the bigs math. So…I do what I can–and then I rely on good ole Dr. Shormann. Dive is super cool because it lines up with Saxon starting in 4th grade and goes all the way up! You simply download the app after you buy the program from the Dive Into Math site and Dr. Shormann teaches each lesson clearly to your child (or you;). You can watch the lesson anywhere from a iPhone, iPad or computer.

BIBLEBible Truths Grade 5 – We start our day with each child getting to have their own Bible time using these Bible workbooks. I only buy the workbook. We all have our quiet time together and momma starts the day with peace and coffee:) Truly a perfect way to start our day!

SPELLINGNatural Speller (We also LOVE the All About Spelling program offered by All About Learning.) This is one book for all grades!

We also sprinkle in Explode the Code, Mind Benders, Editor in Chief, Spectrum Test Prep, and Maps: Charts and Graphs to make sure we are learning test taking skills as well as filling any gaps in comprehension and critical thinking skills.

SCIENCE, HISTORY, LATIN/GREEK, PHONICS REVIEW for Grade 5 is done together with younger siblings! One of my favorite quotes I need on a sign in our home: Together is the best place to be:) I know it’s not realistic to do EVERY subject together. But there are definitely some that can be done together–and oh my…does this make it easier on MOM to get to have all her babies together for a few lessons! This I have seen is where some of the sweetest heart connections are made in our homeschool time:) See the bottom post for 5th grade Science, History, Latin/Greek and Phonics!

NEXT UP…4th grade!

My 4th Grader…Loo bear…


4th Grade Curriculum:

ENGLISH – English 4 Writing and Grammar by BJU

WRITING – Writeshop 1 (Another great writing program we have done that I would recommend is IEW. If your child is in the 4th grade and has never participated in a program like Writeshop or IEW–you should begin in Writeshop at the Primary or Junior levels. Never jump up to a level you think your child should be in before establishing a strong foundation to grow on. It’s better to start easy and breeze on through a program than to jump into a program confused with lots of gaps to fill.)

READING COMPREHENSION AND HANDWRITING PRACTICE – The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease Workbook 4  (We do not do this daily. We started this in 4th grade, and we will continue it with 5th. It’s great for reading and comprehension while introducing the reader to a wide variety of different genres of literature.) 

MATH – Saxon 5/4 and DIVE into Math – Just like there isn’t ONE program that is well-rounded, this momma certainly can’t be the expert in every subject;). Y’all. I do not love math. I need someone else to teach the bigs math. So…I do what I can–and then I rely on good ole Dr. Shormann. Dive is super cool because it lines up with Saxon starting in 4th grade and goes all the way up! You simply download the app after you buy the program from the Dive Into Math site and Dr. Shormann teaches each lesson clearly to your child (or you;). You can watch the lesson anywhere from a iPhone, iPad or computer.

BIBLE – Bible Truths Grade 4 – We start our day with each child getting to have their own Bible time using these Bible workbooks. I only buy the workbook. We all have our quiet time together and momma starts the day with peace and coffee:) Truly a perfect way to start our day!

SPELLING – Natural Speller (We also LOVE the All About Spelling program offered by All About Learning.) This is ONE book from all grades!

We also sprinkle in Explode the CodeMind BendersEditor in ChiefSpectrum Test Prep, and Maps: Charts and Graphs to make sure we are learning test taking skills as well as filling any gaps in comprehension and critical thinking skills.

SCIENCE, HISTORY, LATIN/GREEK, PHONICS REVIEW for Grade 4 is done together with younger siblings! 

Next up…1st grade!

My 1st Grader…the Tank…(on the right–pictured with his pirate friend Miss C!)


And my Pre-1st grader…ITY!


1st and Pre-1st Grade Curriculum (These two 1st grade birds are really doing the same curriculum. However because of one of their ages–one would technically be in kindergarden in a state school, BUT  with this kindergartner reading on a 3rd grade level–kindergarden curriculum is quite boring for him. I don’t think you move kids up to a different grade if they aren’t fully ready for it in every area so I don’t want to say 1st just yet:) SO…pre-1st it is!)

1st Grade Curriculum:

ENGLISH - First Language Lessons – Level 1

WRITING – The Complete Writer: Level 1 Workbook with Writing with Ease 

HANDWRITING PRACTICE - BJU Handwriting Grade 1 (Another handwriting program that we love is Handwriting Without Tears! We completed Handwriting Without Tears printing in Pre-K and K–and BJU teaches a few letters a little differently:). We are all about learning a little differently for different things! We needed to switch some things up after finishing Handwriting Without Tears–which I would recommend beginning with first:).

MATH –  Singapore Math 1A and 1B and Abeka Artithmetic 1  Math is the other thing I’m passionate about not leaving holes in! We have tried Math-U-See, Saxon and everything else under the sun for elementary math. I LOVE Singapore for 1st-4th grades. Then we move into Saxon simply because that’s what most high schools will be using (thank goodness for Saxon DIVE!) Until then, I want to build strong mathematicians who can do mental math quickly in many different ways. Math-U-See left lots of gaps for our kids and missed some key concepts that they would need later. Saxon ROCKS and doesn’t leave gaps–but for 1st grade it can get boring. So–do Singapore 1A and 1B and then also use Abeka because it’s just fun with lots of fun colors:) If you use both–you will see how Singapore goes much faster and teaches skills in 1st that are foundational for multiplication and division earlier than almost any other program.

BIBLE – Bible Truths Grade 1 – We start our day with each child getting to have their own Bible time using these Bible workbooks. I only buy the workbook. We all have our quiet time together and momma starts the day with peace and coffee:) Truly a perfect way to start our day!

SPELLING – Natural Speller (We also LOVE the All About Spelling program offered by All About Learning.) This is ONE book from all grades!

We also sprinkle in Explode the CodeMind Benders, and Maps: Charts and Graphs to make sure we are learning test taking skills as well as filling any gaps in comprehension and critical thinking skills.

ALL GRADES DO THE SAME THINGS FOR SCIENCE, HISTORY, LATIN/GREEK and PHONICS. I group bigs and littles separately for phonics only but we all participate in each other’s phonics together.

Science, History, Latin/Greek and Phonics for ALL GRADES together: 

SCIENCE – all grades (We love Apologia for science!)- Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology  . ALL of the children use the same book but just use age appropriate Apologia Anatomy Notebook Journal to study along. My 4th and 5th graders use the Anatomy Notebooking Journal.  My 1st grader and Pre-1st grader both have their own JUNIOR Anatomy Notebooking Journal. (Each child will need to purchase their own journal from Apologia. It pulls in handwriting in both print and cursive AND scripture memory!)I love how the lesson plans are all ready for you in the front of each child’s journal. You will complete this entire book and journal in just 28 weeks if you follow the lesson plan and each week just study science 2 days a week! If you want to start another when you are completed you can! I’m already eyeing the Botany program to do next:)

HISTORYall grades We are study U.S. History this year! History is TOO rich to stick to just one curriculum if you ask me–and I’ve yet to find one that is light enough that allows you to add lots to it! (After 4 years with Story of the World–we needed a little more adventure and fun:) (We do our history each year in a rotation–so next year they would start with ancients, the next middle ages, and so on!) So…here are some components of our history program:

1. Our history SPINE for this year will be from Veritas Press: Pages of History 2: Blazing New Trails This is a read aloud that all ages can enjoy! Readers (and little listeners) will follow the adventures of James and Lance as they find themselves in all different situations with explorers to the present.

2. History Transition Guide Volume 2 – This guide goes along with the read aloud – and while the read aloud will be for all children–this guide will be more to engage older children.

2. We will be adding a little Veritas to our history program with their history flashcards and Pages of History read alouds. The flashcards: Explorers to 1815 and 1815 to Present. These are also designed to go along with the read aloud AND the History Transition Guide.

3. We are incorporating History Pockets for the 1700’s as BJU misses these years in U.S. History. This year we will be making folders with these History Pockets: Native Americans, Colonial America, The American Revolution, and The Civil War.

4. I also made a timeline of historic novels to use for book reports and before bedtime read alouds. How sweet is that when you can read aloud at bedtime to everyone what ties into their history program?! I love weaving in learning to all parts of our day and night routine together:) This is completely separate from the historic novels that will go along with the Pages of History suggested readings:). I have purchased all of these just to keep in our library for the kids to check out in our co-op:)


And just extra fill in…

5. After 4 years of Story of the World–we WERE GOING to try BJU U.S. History this year as a complete replacement…but I don’t love how it jumps around on the time line. We love you BJU for Bible and English…but we want our history to be chronological from beginning to end–and as simple as possible. So–we will use the text and workbooks we purchased for comprehension and review when it lines up with our chronological lessons. BJU is grade specific–and because history is really something you can do together–we choose together on this one:). We had planned to meet in the middle and using grade 4 as a base so 1st and 5th grade can follow along. SO–we will just use this when it lines up with our timeline or as reading comprehension extra:).

LATIN/GREEK – all grades: English from the Roots Up and Greek and Latin Flash Cards

PHONICS – all grades: All About Reading Levels 1-4 Here’s my All About Learning plug;) No matter the age, we start at Level 1 and finish at Level 4. I’ve actually heard people say, “I have a child in 3rd grade so they are beyond phonics.” Y’all. That’s like saying you are finished learning English;). So many schools do not teach phonics–or if they do they use phonic workbooks instead of a hands on approach. They often do not teach phonic rules–and the children begin to memorize words rather than learn to read phonically. This works great up until the 2nd or 3rd grade when memorizing lots of big words gets really tough. If you have a 2nd or 3rd grader than just started to really struggle as a reader, it’s likely they have been memorizing rather than learning how to read phonetically. The great news is that it’s never to late to go back and retrain your brain to learn differently! We LOVE All About Learning for phonics and spelling! We have done everything from Saxon to Abeka for phonics, but we have parked ourselves right here on this amazing Orton Gillingham hands-on based program! As a former reading teacher for middle school, I really believe READING WELL should always be our focus for our kids in elementary stages. If they can read well and comprehend well because they aren’t having to work really hard to read–then they will succeed in EVERY subject. Struggling readers will struggle with every subject–and having a child with a sensory processing disorder–I have seen All About Reading take the struggle out of reading making our need for a weekly tutor no longer a need! This is a GREAT program for all levels of readers beginning in kindergarden until they complete the program:)


OH…the PRESCHOOLER! I almost forgot! How could I ever forget THIS package of yummy?! Meet the preschooler…ZEKE!


Zeke is a wild one…and he is going to go to preschool in the morning some during the week–and the rest of the time we will be having fun with The Homegrown Preschooler curriculum. You might be surprised to see his picture along with ITY’s throughout that curriculum if you buy it! We are so thankful to have the author as a dear friend–and love this sweet program for preschoolers!


So while that sounds like a lot, we are usually start our school day around 8:30 or 9am…and we usually end around 1pm! We only do 4 day school weeks at home–with a day set aside for extracurricular classes the children take at a homeschool program where 700 other homeschool kids attend. They take art, cooking, STEM classes, computer and music!

We also co-op with other families on Monday—honestly for the ACCOUNTABILITY and the extra fun:) It took us a LONG TIME to find the right fit of curriculum and co-op families–so if you are hoping for these…HANG IN THERE…trust the Lord to provide and don’t give up!!! Change things around when they aren’t working–and take lots of field trips and fun days when you need it!

And field trips! We take at least a couple every month!

I started homeschool with the intention to try it ONE YEAR…and 5 years later–here we are! I’m so thankful we tried it and took the leap! Yes, I’ve seen the benefits from an educational perspective–but most of all…it’s the shaping of their hearts. This is the hardest and best thing that I’ve ever done as a mom. SO WORTH IT!

Blessings from our home to  yours!



Our Homeschool Classroom

While much of our learning takes place outside or at the kitchen table–everyone that home schools needs a place…home base…to organize and store the countless materials, books and manipulatives we talk ourselves into needing;). I taught public school for a handful of years during my single 20’s and the first years of marriage before our first was born. I never, ever thought I’d homeschool–and here we are…going on YEAR 5! This year I have a 5th grader, 4th grader, a 1st grader and one in Pre-1st.

I’ll share the curriculum we are using in our next homeschool post–but for now…welcome to our homeschool classroom that sits just off the back porch and kitchen area. (For the record: While the blue old school desks are cute, they aren’t cozy and the children don’t love them. They really are best for preschoolers so I hold on to them for Zeke and the cute factor now. For the most part we sit on that rug or the kitchen table to learn every day–and the desks are used when someone has individual work like math or writing and they don’t need the 4 year old’s input at the kitchen table;)


This year for history we are studying U.S. History. One of the SWEETEST things about homeschool is learning together–so instead of following a curriculum that has every child on a DIFFERENT history, science, Bible, and language program–we keep as many things together as possible. The only things we do individually and break up for individual learning are grade level subjects like language arts (phonics, spelling, reading & writing) and math. Everything else–we keep things simple on the teacher (ME) and stay together as a family…so much easier and so much more fun to do together.

I found this book spin display at a local antique shop. It wasn’t for sale–but you never know unless you ask:) While there are lots of books to choose from in our little library, this display is stocked with U.S. History specific literature…


I found the CUTEST library inserts to use in our little library, and the children practiced their typing skills by typing the titles and authors to each old school library card! AND they get to play library when our co-op friends who join us for learning on Monday when friends want to check out one of their books!FullSizeRender-6I just love old school everything–especially in a classroom so these posters by Cavallini & Co. make me smile every time I walk in our school room. AND the children actually have learned things that might not necessarily be in the curriculum for the year by having them always in front of them in our classroom…


We have the U.S. map as well as sign language and common chicken breeds up also:) I love this vintage U.S. Map…


And storage in large mason jar containers (found these at Hobby Lobby) and plastic shoe containers from Target. The wooden wall shelf is also from Target…and almost everything on that shelf is a treasure that reminds me of someone dear—-along with a few vintage old school card games that I can quickly match to a learning standard if I need to;) AND that roll of kraft paper to the side–that is what every room needs. A last minute extra large coloring paper to doodle on:) We use kraft paper for everything—and then use it for wrapping paper later. Having their art work or math practice on it makes it a sweet for gift-wrapping too:)


The library book shelving is from IKEA–and the top cubbies I use for each child’s curriculum book storage…with art supplies and workbox supplies (for when I need daddy to teach or mommy isn’t feeling well–the workbox system comes into play;)–more on that in another post;) OR you can search for that post on my site:) The orange boxes up top contain math flash cards, phonic reader books (Bob books) and stationary for letting writing. I’m teaching them the lost art of letter writing–so I try to keep that top stationary box filled to the brim with fun stationary packets.


I’ll share our curriculum choices for 2015-16 this weekend for anyone making any last minute additions or switch-a-roos! I try to stock grade-level books under their cubbies also.


So there’s just a little peak into our school room:) Happy Friday!!!


Andrea Young






The Young Family Farm! {Babe of my Heart}

After 7 years of writing on our family blog at Baby of My Heart…a blog I started to keep our family in-the-know during our first adoption journey that began 7 years ago…I decided to move my blog to a new domain with a new name–that embraces our “now”. While I love the name “Baby of My Heart”…that title seems to focus more on the babes that grew in my heart—our journey to them…and now—we are simply FAMILY.


With 5 littles–and a love for photography and writing…a blog and printing a blog to book may be the only way I remember our crazy…but being a homeschool mom who hangs out with 5 crazy kids all day–and processes through writing…and with my commitment to authenticity and my love for Jesus–I hope any mom who happens upon a post finds either encouragement or much needed laughter…knowing you aren’t alone. This mommy-thing…is one of the hardest, holiest, most tiring jobs we will ever get to spend our hearts on. But–its our most high calling–one that these memories we are making will be the ones we treasure on our rocking porch as we remember them one day.


Thank you Lauren Casper –my dear mommy and ministry side-kick…for designing something farm fresh for me:) I can’t wait to post many more of our memories here to share with family and friends:)

I’m going to work on adding pictures of the farm and farmhouse in the days and weeks ahead…and of course farm animal introductions and our homeschooling dailies too:)

Have a sweet week!





When grace, love and service leave the field…

This post was written 2 years ago–and never posted. Tonight–as I update categories to link up to my new blog…I ran across it. I think I’ve changed quite a bit in what I hesitate to post…in just 2 years. And this was truth then–and is still truth now. And really–the only thing that has changed is that little boy swinging the baseball bat…might just be a foot taller. Life is short…it flies by–may our days be full of grace, love and serving others.

I rarely share my soapboxes. But I think this morning I will.

Our family. We have 5 precious little ones ages 2, 4, 5, almost 8 and 9. We are in the middle of birthday parties every Saturday, dance classes, Nutcracker practices, music lessons and with 4 boys–soccer games every Saturday. Our days and our hearts are full–and Rico Suave and I–oh we love it! These are the golden years. Tired years. Sweet years. Years we will miss and talk about for the rest of our lives. We’ve been in diapers for 9 full years–and rarely had a full nights sleep. And we would not change a bit of it–for anything in this world.

When you choose to have a big family AND be very involved in each of your children’s lives–it is 24-7…no sitting it seems…tiring–but totally and completely our choice. And wonderful. With 5 active kids–there ARE even some games that double or triple up–so there are games or performances we some times as parents are forced to miss. But for our children–we see these few and far between unfortunate scheduling overlaps as blessings instead of a curse–giving our children the opportunity to see the world doesn’t completely revolve around them–and their audience should always be for One…to please their Lord in heaven with their attitude, sportsmanship and effort. He is enough for them–and this is a gift that comes naturally with a big family. We will not always be there for you son and daughter–but our Father in heaven will. A good and real truth.

And really–with all this crazy goodness–most would say that we shouldn’t say yes to much–but our hearts…they do. They do say yes to opportunities that we feel led to. And He gives us strength and equips us–and we do the best we can…and some how God uses it.

My Rico Suave. He is an amazing man. He makes me laugh how he wants so badly to be a part of every moment of these 5 little loves lives. My favorite is watching him sit through Nutcracker rehearsals and shows every year with that swooning look of joy and pride on his face. Never thought I’d see the day;). He signs up to coach sports every year–every season also…strategically rotating which child’s turn it is to have daddy coach. He coaches soccer in the fall. Basketball in the winter. And baseball in the spring–so not a year goes by where each child doesn’t have daddy coaching at least one of his sports. (And I know he’s secretly thankful the ballet studio won’t allow him help there too;). Every year he says he will take a break to help me chase the other 4 spectators. BUT every season, they call him–and being short of volunteers to serve–they ask him to coach. So he gladly signs up. And deep down–he is tickled to serve again. It is a joy. Pouring into these kids. Loving them. Cheering them on.

And every season. Without fail. At some point in the season. Grace, love and service–leave the field. And it reminds me–what a broken world we live in.

He walks through door several times every season–sighs deeply–and says, “I did it again.” His lacking in service–wasn’t perfect. Yet-he keeps running and tries harder–and I stand there…proud that he is an example to me–to keep running, to keep serving and to keep loving. Mother Teresa–she was a wise one–and she challenged us as followers of Jesus to love until it hurts. Good and hard advice. And it never gets easier–the hearing of the imperfection…whether you are serving in a church, in a ministry, in your work, in your child’s school or on your child’s team–it’s easy to let the weeds overshadow the beautiful harvest. And it’s no wonder–in the Christian world–when we choose to complain instead of encourage or step up to serve when we aren’t happy–why we are raising men and women who have unrealistic expectations, who expect things to be done without their service and who complain when they have unmet expectations or needs. I grieve on the couch–in my flesh immediately slip–and say how we should stop serving. But that is my flesh. And the risk for giving up is just too great. Because when you stop serving–grace and love tag along out the window with it…and these I need…these I cannot compromise…these I will fight for.

There is a reason we, as believers, are called to serve. On so many aspects it is hard–because it isn’t natural to WANT to serve. But Jesus. He was different. Anything BUT natural. And He–He came to be a ransom for many–to serve and not be served. If we want to live as He lived-then in the big and small we will rise. When we are needed and when we are able–we will rise no matter how small or big the task is as parents and bring service, grace and love the best we can with us offering to ourselves and to others–whether it’s coaching a pee wee league or leading a girls Bible study or taking a group of kids across the world. And we will fail. Because we aren’t perfect. But we open our hands and do what we can–and will choose to give grace, love and service even to believers who criticize and complain…because in all honesty–don’t they need grace, love and service too?

When we are serving unbelievers–then I think our expectations of being appreciated must be very, very different. There is another blog article for that–and for that…I have absolutely NO soapbox about. When you do not have the Holy Spirit in your heart–then it is unfair to expect someone to be Spirit led or to follow Philippians 2:14-16 or James 5:9. In fact–when someone is constantly complaining or dissatisfied it should be a clear indicator that they are not being Spirit led–and they need our love right now in their lives most of all. Yet–every church, team, school or job you find yourself in–you will also find the believer who has forgotten…and for many reasons–this makes our hearts even more heavy in service.

“Do everything without finding fault or arguing. Then you will be pure and without blame. You will be children of God without fault in a sinful and evil world. Among the people of the world you shine like stars in the heavens. You shine as you hold out to them the word of life. So I can brag about you on the day Christ returns. I can be happy that I didn’t run or work for nothing.” (Philippians 2:14-16)

“Brothers and sisters, don’t find fault with one another. If you do, you will be judged. And the Judge is standing at the door!” (James 5:9)

What happens when grace, love and service has left the tables of brothers and sisters in Christ is even more detrimental to the complainer. The stakes are high and it’s important to step back and realize the legacy we are really leaving our children and others who are influenced by us…

When grace, love and service leave the field–when we choose to criticize others for not performing to our expectations YET do nothing to be a part of the solution–we teach our children that when something isn’t to our standards you should complain instead of being a servant or a problem solver.

When grace, love and service leave the field–we tell our spouse we are going to have a different teacher/team/program/whatever next time instead of seeing the heart of others and wanting to join them in service–we teach our kids that if you aren’t satisfied with something and they are not meeting your needs–you leave…you leave the church, you leave the school, you leave the job…you church hop, school hop, job hop until your needs are met…however long that might be…instead of rising to the occasion and filling a gap that just maybe the Lord has set you a part to fill.

When grace, love and service leave the the field–we choose to complain about losing, complain about the teacher, school, pastor, coach, about the friends, players, or group–instead of enjoying the moment, seeing the good in each person and looking for God to show up and for the sweet treasure He just might want to teach us in this imperfect world.

When grace, love and service leave the field–we slowly become a drain–one that others will need to pour into it instead of being a life-source that is a magnet of fresh air–that others are challenged and blessed by.

And how do you know–when and if–grace, love and service as left your table? When you have complained, criticized or let yourself become frustrated with the team, the church, the family, the job, the friend, the ministry–yet you have not poured yourself out to the brim and back to be used and a part of the solution for the problem that the Lord has so evidently opened your eyes to–yet you have chosen complaining instead. But. But. This is the good stuff. It is NEVER too late. Thank you Jesus! The grace we have failed to give–is freely given back to us in return. Grace. Grace we give our believing brothers and sister. Grace Jesus gives us. Grace–grace–and more grace!

Grace is never too late.

Invite grace back to the table. Ask how you can love big. Ask how you can serve big.

Choose to encourage instead of criticize.

Choose to serve instead of be served.

Choose to encouarge instead of complain.

Choose to leave a legacy of grace, love and service—a legacy that tells your children you do not leave, quit or give up when things get hard–but rather pour in and make a difference.

I will never forget 4 years ago when Rico Suave and I began to feel like the church wasn’t meeting our needs–our ideals for what “we wanted” in a church. We picked it apart–how we felt. We started looking around…visiting other churches—yet the one we had been at was full of Biblical teaching and good worship. We just wanted more. More community. More this. More that. We had become whiney spiritual, needy brats who thought the church was supposed to serve us rather than be a place to heal the sick…a place to worship on our knees…a place to find strangers who looked lonesome in the halls to befriend…a place where the Holy Spirit would show us unmet needs–and just might use US to fill it. It had become about us–instead of about Him. And grace, love and service had left our field.

I’m so thankful we didn’t leave. I’m so thankful we asked how to fill the gaps. I’m so thankful we opened our hands and chose to make our selfishness a battle that we were determined to win rather than using it to lead us in potentially the wrong direction. Some times God places us in circumstances where we see lacking and gaps–not for us to because weary, discouraged or complain–but so we may be a part of the body of Christ and fill it. This sense–this feeling of a gap–is in reality often the prompting of the Holy Spirit to show us where we can possibly be the hands and feet of Jesus and be used.

But unfortunately–some times we don’t see it for what it is–and we complain instead…get our panties all in a wad and stomp our feet if you will;). We voice to our family or even worse our children–that we are frustrated instead of voicing we see a fun way to serve.

You see–if you do this with your kid on the field–you most likely do this in other areas of your life too. If you model this for your child in something small, without realizing it–we are modeling this in a much bigger picture too. But everything changes–the minute we choose to invite grace, love and service back to our table. Everything changes, when we sit down with our kids–and say, “We see some gaps here at _______, and we want to pray as a family just maybe how God might use us to be grace, love and service–and be used to fill this gap.” We are teaching our kids something tremendously big when we choose this road–when we invite these three things back to the field.

For all of us–or at least I know for me–this will be a life long challenge. I pray this will be my perspective always…and although this perspective may make our hands full–it’s perfectly okay because this life isn’t supposed to be about us any way–but about Him. I don’t know about you–but I want to run this race well and shine like starts in the universe for His glory. And I can’t do it without running the race of service, pouring out lots of love and extending grace upon grace on the way.

Praying and hoping we run well!



Love to be real must cost; it must hurt; it must empty us of self. — Mother Teresa