Wednesday, June 18, 2014

When will my life begin? -- a lesson from Tangled


"Stuck in the same place I've always been
I just keep wanderin' and wanderin' and
wanderin' and wanderin' 
when will my life begin?"
-Tangled

I have heard the myth of "my life hasn't started yet" often since I graduated high school and entered the new phase of questions life.



You graduate high school and "just like that", the consistency is gone. No more of the steady continuation of doing the next chapter in a math or science book. Until advanced education courses start (or whatever path that G-d is leading you down) you inevitably begin to ask "what's next?" "what is purpose?" "and what is purpose-filled?" "when will my life begin"? You cry out to G-d asking Him to Show you the path of Life (Ps. 16:11) and questions rise far quicker than conclusions are reached!

This post-graduation truth quest, though internally challenging at times, is an incredible blessing. The temptation is there to ask "when will my life begin"? And start to subconsciously insert "maybe when I get this job" or "maybe when I get married" etc. but the truth is that our life began at conception. It doesn't start with the new good job, marriage, a college degree, a dream house etc. (although all those things can be blessings and good). Our life began at conception!

Embrace the searching, knowing that it produces growth. But don't let it cause you to waste the moments that you're living now. Enjoy them, use them, fill them with meaning and purpose. Prepare for the tasks that the Heavenly Father has laid on your heart and as Proverbs says, get wisdom.

Use the season of questions to search deeper into what you believe - talk with parents, get together with mentors and most importantly, search the Word of G-d. Remember that each day is a blessing from the Father to serve and glorify Him, to use the talents and opportunities that He has given us for Him. To make even the most mundane of tasks a living sacrifice to Him...(do all things to the glory of the Father). Your task might be small - but if you do it with joy as unto the L-rd, then you have done well, faithful servant.

Ultimately, let the questions lead you to the foot of the cross. Realizing that without our Heavenly Father we are nothing but with Him we have purpose in life! Our life began at conception and our spiritual life with acceptance and belief that He is our guide and Savior on this beautiful life journey, where He guides us with His commandments, precepts and the Holy Spirit.

With G-d we don't keep wandering, because our life has begun. In Him, our purpose is fulfilled, our questions answered, our hope found. What a privilege and joy to walk day by day in His guidance and always in His grace.


"I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go." -Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Embracing a New Perspective for the Coming Season

A cool breeze flowed through the kitchen window as I washed dishes at the sink. I could see the trees, their leaves changing to warm, cozy colors of red, yellow and brown. Preparations for the coming winter were well under way; piles of wood being chopped and stacked, garden tilled under, chimney cleaned and just one more batch of applesauce in the canner to add to the rows of preserved summer bounty.



Taking a deep breath, my mind thought over a list -- partially crossed off, yet still long with what needs doing before the snow flies. Pulling my sweater tight, I thought for a brief moment, how lovely it would be to skip the cold winter and head right into Spring again...with all the warm weather, goat kids, budding trees and a newly planted garden that it brings. Not that I'm against winter and snow - I do love the snow and of course a good pair of carhartts. But why, I wondered, the cold for so long?

No sooner had the thought crossed my mind, that the Lord refreshed my perspective to be able to see His wisdom in blessing us with the cold winter months, realizing that it is a season of rest for the ground and for the farmers. A short window of time where we can pull up a chair by the fire to enjoy a good book and a family gathered around the table working on puzzles.


I began to see a bigger picture of embracing each season. Spring for it's new life, Summer for the growing season, Fall for preservation and harvest and Winter for rest. Each play a vital role in the circle of life. God has graciously arranged the seasons to change -- that we won't grow weary in His creation. but instead never cease to marvel at His glory and nature.

That moment at the kitchen sink, I determined to embrace the coming season of rest -- viewing it as a time of refreshment instead of waste. And through the lens of thankfulness I learned to embrace each season to it's fullest.

Here's to a restful winter, full of puzzles, hot chocolate and family time.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

{ My Mini Farm-Girls in Training }

{forgive me as I take a moment to boast about my little sis's...#proudbigsister}

My little sisters love doing barn chores with me. Morning or night, these little farm-girls-in-training sit on the side of a stanchion, legs dangling, while I milk and we chat...they learn how to milk the goats too (and amuse themselves by squirting the dog with milk)...they ask questions like there is no tomorrow and soak up the answers. They can tell you why we routinely dip with iodine before and after milking, and their little eyes watch the goat herd closely for any signs of illness that they learn about. 
They know it needs to be caught and cared for right away! 


Those little sweetie pies thrilled my heart tonight as they joined me in the barn and started working. Without my asking, they just showed initiative and did! At 6 and 4 years old, they saw a need and they met it. Those girls picked up a broom and some pitch forks, and not only did they make a tremendous difference in the barn yard mess, they giggled, laughed, talked and had fun as they swept and cleaned up. 


Their eyes danced with delight as they asked if they "made my day"? 
....actually, honey, you girls made my week. 

One of the many things that my parents have done just right is that they've trained each kiddo at an early age to work hard and persevere. 
That's not to say that we don't deal with laziness or a host of other issues - we do! 
But I am grateful...very, very grateful for the time that my Mom spent with us, showing us how to wash a floor well. Bless her heart, she looks back now and feels bad that every Monday Josh and I grabbed our wash buckets and rags, and scrubbed...and I'll tell you what, at seven years old we found every hidden pencil, penny and crayon. It taught us to be thorough as we hunted for those items. 
As simple as it may seem, that lesson has remained with both of us.

Now I watch three of my little sisters as they learn how to be good workers. This summer they had a great time picking peas each day, and have the current responsibility of raising our layer pullets. I proudly watched (concealed by a barn beam) as Natalie grabbed a paper towel and went the extra mile to clean the waterer for her chick project. 


One great joy of being an older sister, is to watch them discover how fun it is to be responsible. To exceed expectations, and learn. All of my siblings love to learn. And when I have the privilege of sharing what my Momma taught me...it's an extra blessing. 

Thank you Mom and Dad, for teaching and training your children in all of the above. It is my prayer to some day pass along the same virtues to the next generation. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

For Sale: The Feminine Farmgirl Apron!

Dear Friends,
It has been months since updating on this little corner of blog world, but in real life, the farm and family has swept me away to an almost dream-like day to day life. The garden is producing abundantly, we've picked fruit and canned vegetables and prepared for a vintage barn sale that is hosted in our 1800's post and beam barn. We've cheered for my Dad and younger brother as they coach/play baseball games. Some days are spent cleaning and babysitting for a few families and other days, I have a little extra time to work on special sewing projects.

Which leads me to a special offer that I have available for a limited time...

I have combined some adorable fabric out of our farmhouse sewing room stash and made some very fun and cheerful aprons. Don't you think that every home maker should wear an apron while making a delicious meal for the family? I don't know about you, but it always adds a special "old fashioned" feel as you take joy in serving the people in your life in a practical way.

Posted below are pictures of the aprons available. I'll take them off as they sell. I've set up a little button on paypal and all you have to do is specify in the appropriate comment area the number of the apron you would like. Then I'll package it up all pretty and send it from our farm to your home! Easy!


{ 2. Modern Black and White Floral - Size S, M}

{ 4. Farmhouse Chick - Size S, M}


{ 6. Pink floral - Size S, M}


Special orders are available upon request by emailing femininefarmgirl at gmail dot com. 
$28.00 per apron with $1.50 for shipping and handling anywhere in the US. 


Paypal Button: 




Please email me at femininefarmgirl {at} gmail {dot} com with any questions.

Blessings,
Jenna



p.s. Our family is preparing for our upcoming vintage barn sale and below is today's project: 
A hand painted Fresh Egg sign on old barn wood. So fun. 


Monday, May 20, 2013

{Amazing Apple Pie Cake}


When you re-make a recipe four times in one week, and then again and again, one knows that it must be shared. This is the most a.m.a.z.i.n.g. Apple bread in pie/cake form that you will ever eat. Super easy, absolutely delicious and the perfect baked gift to share with a friend.

~ Apple Pie Cake ~

1/2c. Butter
3/4c. Sugar
1 Egg, slightly beaten
1c. Flour
1t. Baking Powder
1t. Cinnamon*
1/2t. Salt
1/2t. Nutmeg*
1/2t. Cloves*
1/8t. Vanilla
2c. Apples, peeled and chopped

Grease a 9" pie pan. Melt butter and remove from heat; blend with sugar and egg. Mix in rest of ingredients adding the apples last. Spread in the pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. It's that easy. And if you wisely decide to double the recipe while you're at it, that works great in a 9"x13" pan. 

** I use a total of 2t. Pumpkin Pie Spice instead of the other spices and love it.**

Enjoy!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Snapshots from the Farm

This Spring has witnessed some delightful farm progress as Caleb helped me fix our pasture so that the does could have daily grazing access. I'm so grateful for his help and that the animals can enjoy the outdoors; possibly as much as I enjoy seeing them out in the pasture! 

My only wish was that my favorite doe, Tenn, could have lived 1 week longer to fully enjoy the beautiful outdoors herself. 
{my morning "hello" for the past 4 years ~ neither she or her twins made it after an extremely traumatic birth}

 {fencing}

{Tori and fellow herd-mates loving the fresh grass}

{Tahala on the right; another favorite!}

{incredible weather}

 {loving the new territory}

{a view from the pasture}

Even though there have been some very difficult losses encountered, a walk around the farm gave me plenty to be grateful for. The new goat pasture, good rain this year, progeny from Tenn, our garden planted early... I'll miss feeding my doe her favorite snack of tortilla chips, and scratching her chin each morning...that was a special memory of growing up with the responsibility of animals. But there is still more to learn, and determination over-flows as I look forward to improving the genetic line that remains. 

In everything give thanks. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dinner for a Chilly Day

Recently upon talking with a friend on health and cooking verses sweets and baking, I was again inspired to work on finding delicious dinner recipes for the family. Since it is still chilly weather in our area, soup continues to be a meal staple and I turned to this recipe with some alterations to make a delicious and hearty dinner:

Beef and Barley Soup

Photo Credit
2T. Olive Oil
3 Onions, minced
1/4c. Tomato Paste
1T. Fresh Thyme, minced or 3/4t. dried
1/2c. Beef or Chicken Stock
1 (28oz) can Crushed Tomatoes
4c. Beef Broth (can substitute Chicken)
4 Carrots, chopped
1c. Mushrooms
2c. Spinach, chopped
1/3c. Soy Sauce
1/2c. Barley
2 pounds Beef steak, trimmed

Heat oil in 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, tomato paste, and thyme and cook until onions are softened and lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of Beef stock and transfer to slow cooker. 

I made a rue to add some creaminess and thickness (it made a huge difference in the soup - I would highly suggest it). Start by browning about 1/4c. Butter in a sauce pan, whisk in 1/4c. Flour and slowly stir in about 2 cups of milk or broth - you may need a little more. Once smooth and creamy, add to the crockpot.

Stir tomatoes, beef broth, carrots, mushrooms, soy sauce and barley into slow cooker. Season beef with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker. Cover and cook until beef is tender, 9-11 hours on low or 5-7 on high. 

Transfer beef to cutting board and shred into bite size pieces. Add spinach to slow cooker along with the meat. 

Taste before serving to see if you need any additional seasonings. If you need more broth in your soup, just add water. 

Enjoy~

*I doubled this recipe for our family of 10.

Friday, December 7, 2012

One Thing I Desire: to Know Christ more

"We must know the Lord Jesus to admire Him, 
we must admire Him to love Him, 
and we must love Him to serve Him." 
~Octavius Winslow



Sarah Bryant, author of "The Family Daughter" (see my review on that HERE)and editor of "A King's Blooming Rose" magazine, asks in her new book "One thing I Desire":
"Has your life been engulfed by one consuming passion - that you would more deeply know your Creator and Savior Jesus Christ and the fullness of the Gospel?"
"One Thing I Desire is penned to encourage you in your quest to seek and know your Redeemer through His Word, that your heart would more fully understand His great work accomplished in the Gospel. The grandeur of this one thing will spur you to love Him more with all of your heart, soul, and mind and to worship Him throughout all of eternity." 
 The hope of this author is to encourage her sisters in the Lord with extensive selection and relevance of Scripture, compiled and written to inspire those on all parts of the journey of Knowing our Savior. It is full of encouragement to honestly evaluate your Spiritual life, dig into the Word of Jehovah and STUDY the Scriptures and spur you on to seeking our Holy Lord with every part of your heart, soul and mind.

 Sarah's passionate love for Jesus is a blessing to all those who see; a testimony and light of our Lord's faithfulness and goodness to those who Seek Him with their whole hearts, who know Him, who love Him, who Serve Him. In this day, it is entirely refreshing to have a Sister in the Lord who so generously shares through her book, what the Lord has laid on her heart. Thank you, Sarah!

"One thing have I desired Lord, 
that will I seek after, 
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, 
to behold the beauty of the Lord."


Psalm 27:4

 Sarah has graciously offered to share one of her new books with a Feminine Farmgirl reader. Please enter below by:

- Visit the Kings Blooming Rose website - (comment here after you've done so = 1 entry: comment 1x)

Comment with a favorite Bible verse, quote or book title that encourages you to Know Christ More ( = 2 entries: comment 2 times!)

- Sharing the link to this giveaway on Facebook or on your Blog ( = 3 entries: comment 3 times!)

This giveaway will close on December 12, 2012, winner will be chosen by random.org. 

May your heart's desire be to know our Jehovah King more each day. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Oh, to be Five again...

Swinging. 


That one word brings back a host of memories. Not only was swinging a favorite pastime from when I was younger, it might have been where my momma discovered that her good little girl had a touch of the naughty side as well. Oops.

Now I give my three youngest sisters under-dogs on the swing set...watching them play happily brings back many memories.


Right now they just enjoy our little life on the farm. They named the three chicks that hatched Alma, Maud and Ethel. So sweet.


 They dress up in their "hoop skirts" and set up a Civil War Camp with old cast iron pots and lots of sticks.
All three of them have wonderful imaginations that get put to work in their creative play and they learn a lot. Mom especially, reads them all kinds of books - she did that for Josh and me too. We sat in the living room every day and colored or did a craft while mom read. For a while, one of our favorite story books was "Roxaboxen" - we set up a cardboard box village in our basement, made gardens around the houses and a graveyard - just like the story.  Memories like that make me wish I was five again...

The girls find much joy in every little detail of life...that is something that I don't ever want to out-grow.


They remind me not to rush life, but to enjoy every moment of the day.

There's not a tree next to our current swing set, so I can't try and touch the maple leaves with my toes like I used to...but last night, I swung high on our swing set with many memories of what the Lord has blessed me with and I am so grateful.



Friday, May 4, 2012

Thai Curry-Coconut Soup and Fresh from the Farmstand Giveaway

Our family has been enjoying Gooseberry Patch's, new cookbook: Fresh from the Farmstand. With 240 recipes, there seems to be an idea for every variety of produce that you can find at your local Farmers market...as we head into the vegetable season, there will be plenty of opportunity to not only try these 5-star recipes, but use some of that extra garden produce as well!

Below is a recipe for Thai Curry-Coconut Soup, straight from the cookbook for you to try. A simple and quick dinner to put together - and delicious.


1c. Onion, chopped
1c. Carrots, peeled and diced
1c. Red Pepper, diced
1c. Sliced Mushrooms
2t. Fresh Ginger, peeled and grated
1/2t. Curry Powder
2T. Olive Oil
32oz. Container Coconut Curry Chicken Broth
Juice of 2 Limes
13-1/2oz. Can Coconut Milk
1/4c. Fresh Cilantro, chopped, or to taste
1 1/2c. Cooked Chicken, chopped

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook vegetables and spices in oil for 3-4 minutes. Stir in broth and lime juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 10 minutes, until vegetables are soft. Stir in remaining ingredients; heat through. Serves 4.  

Gooseberry Patch has graciously provided a copy of Fresh from the Farmstand for me to giveaway to a Feminine Farmgirl reader!

Starting today and closing on May 11 @ Noon EST. Please leave a separate comment for each entry!

Entry #1 - If you have started your own collection of Gooseberry Patch cookbooks, tell us which is your favorite! Otherwise visit Gooseberry Patch, look around at their cookbooks and tell us which one sounds the best to you.

Entry #2 - Like Gooseberry Patch on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gooseberrypatch

Entry #3 - Share the link to this giveaway post on Facebook

Entry #4 - Stop by their blog; leave them a comment (let them know you came from Feminine Farmgirl!)

Entry #5 - Join their Circle of Friends Email club

Special Entry: For those of you who tried the Ginger Carrot Bread, you get 5 more entries!!. '

Again, please leave a separate comment for each entry and don't forget to try the Thai Curry-Coconut Soup for dinner this week:)  


Thank you Gooseberry Patch for providing both the review and giveaway copies. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fresh from the Farmstand: Ginger-Carrot Bread

With many thanks to Gooseberry Patch

I have the opportunity to review their cookbook: "Fresh from the Farmstand"...and the best part: after tempting you all with a few of the delicious recipes, I get to share a cookbook with one special reader.  

Extra entries will be offered to all who try the Frosted Ginger-Carrot bread recipe! 


So grab your apron...ready...set...go!


Frosted Ginger-Carrot Bread


3c. Flour
2t. Cinnamon
1 1/2 t. Ground Ginger
1/4 t. Baking Powder
1t. Baking Soda
1t. Salt
1/2 - 2/3c. Crystallized Ginger, finely diced
3 Eggs
1c. Canola Oil (I use Applesauce)
1 3/4c. Sugar
2t. Vanilla Extract
1c. Carrots, peeled and grated
1c. Zucchini, yellow or pattypan squash, grated
Optional: turbinado sugar, chopped nuts

In a bowl, sift together flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in crystallized ginger; set aside. In a separate large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat eggs until light and foamy, about 2 minutes. Add oil, sugar and vanilla; beat until sugar dissolves. Add carrots and squash; mix gently until combined. Add flour mixture to egg mixture; stir gently. Coat two, 8-1/2" x 4-1/2" loaf pans with non-stick vegetable spray. Spoon batter into pans. Bake at 325 degrees for about one hour, until firm and a toothpick tests clean. Cool loaves in pans on wire rack for 15 minutes. Romove from pans; cool completely on rack. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting; sprinkle with sugar and nuts, if desired. If planning to freeze the bread, don't frost it until after it's been thawed. Yields 2 loaves.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

 

8-oz pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 c. Butter, softened
1t. Vanilla extract
2c. Powdered Sugar

With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Reduce speed to low; beat in powdered sugar. Increase speed to high; beat until light and fluffy.


 A unique twist to your standard Zucchini bread, the ginger and carrot included in this recipe yields a winner that can be made with ingredients either fresh from your garden or local farmers market. The crystallized ginger adds a fun flavor that you wouldn't expect...it's delicious! 

 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Company Dinner Rolls

Add these "healthy" Company Dinner Rolls to a delicious dinner of homemade soup...yum!



Ingredients:

2 1/2c. Warmed Water (115 degrees F.)
1c. Cracked Seven Grain
1 1/2 T. SAF Instant Yeast
1/4c. Butter, softened
4T. Vital Gluten (optional)
4T. Dry Milk Powder
1/4c. Honey
1 Egg
2t. Salt
5-6c. {Freshly ground} Whole Wheat Flour

Combine warmed water, cracked seven grain and yeast. Sponge (let sit) for 15-30 minutes.

Add egg, butter, honey, dry milk powder, salt and vital gluten to the mixture on low speed.

Gradually add enough additional whole wheat flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Avoid adding too much flour, as that will make the roll too tough.

Knead the dough until the gluten is fully developed (5-8 minutes).

Raise dough for 30 minutes. Punch down dough and shape into rolls, by oiling your hands and shaping 1/4 cup-fulls of dough into balls. Place closely together but not touching onto greased baking sheets.

Allow the rolls to raise until doubled in size, at least one hour.

Bake @ 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Yields 30-36 rolls.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Goat Kids Have Arrived

Our first round of kidding season has come and gone here on our little farm. What a blessing to have our six older does kid within a week of each other for a total of 13 kids: 7 does, 6 bucks.


A week of witnessing the miracles born and most came during the day...extra plus!
Testify made kidding look easy - it was a good birth for some friends of ours to watch. They had come over to see the other kids that were born and as we turned around, she started pushing and wa la!

Laura enjoying a little goat friend...

Abigail with Triplet Does!

A busy week complete with attending the births, assisting some, bottle feeding, coxing the not-so-brilliant ones to eat (tube feeding a couple), later teaching them to eat on a lambar (bucket feeder), dehorning and now lots and lots of cleaning up.

Now what to do with some of those bucks...does any one need a wether???

Monday, February 20, 2012

She Extends her Hand to Bless

Last year during the early Summer, I was blessed to fellowship over lunch with a very sweet acquaintance.

As we shared what the Lord was teaching us, and later discussed new sewing projects for the rest of the year, I excitedly shared that Mom was expecting my 8th sibling...along the lines of sewing, mom and I had planned to make up cloth diapers and some baby slings. And of course, I was also excited about the fact that I wouldn't have to try out for Beauty and the Beast, a rather large giant of mine (fear) because I'd be at home helping Mom and holding an adorable little baby instead (a much better alternative!).

Over those few hours, we had a lot of encouraging conversations and I came away refreshed from talking with another young lady who loves the Lord and also has a vision for homemaking.

A few short weeks later, there was a knock on the door, and I was surprised to see Laura, arms loaded with delicious loaves of homemade bread, jam and a baby gift. She and her Mom had a heart to bless our family and wanted to bring some baked goods each month throughout my Mom's pregnancy...unknown to her, my little sibling had already entered into the gates of Heaven. It was an awkward situation, yet Laura was so sweet.

Just a month later, Laura called, and asked if she could please continue to bring baked goods, as it was something that they would really like to do. So each month, Laura has taken time out of her busy schedule and lovingly made and delivered delicious goodies.


My family and I have been blessed by not only her delicious gifts, but most of all Laura's beautiful example of a young lady who saw a way that she could bless us, and faithfully did so. Thank you, Laura!

"She extends her hand to the "poor", yes, she reaches out her hands to the "needy"."
Proverbs 31:20

Monday, February 13, 2012

Loving Earnestly When The Days Are Hard

With Valentine's day being in February, it is the month that everyone talks about love. Usually a "romantic" type of love...but certainly not the only kind!

Right now in my life, I have been meditating on a difficult type of love: the love that I need for my special needs sister. The Lord has chosen to give our family a few extra dynamics that some days feel impossible to love. Many moments are rough and very difficult to respond lovingly to - I'm tempted to think why the Lord placed the extra needs in our family?

Yet I remember that she is made perfectly in the image of God - that she is just as precious in the sight of Him as anyone... the conviction in my heart is strong; I want to love her with compassion, shower her with mercy, show an abounding amount of patience and invest daily in her life. Yet even with that desire, I feel incapable.

But by the grace of God, with His strength and only His, am I even able to try to love like Him. HE has equipped me with all I need to respond tenderly, earnestly and purely, with love...and with HIS help I will use those tools to love her "earnestly, from a pure heart"...even on the worst of days!



"Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart." 
1 Peter 1:22

This is the cry of my heart. Many days are rough and  just.plain.hard  but even then, I should love her fully from a pure heart. Gratefully, the Lord has left so many passages in Scripture to teach, train, equip and encourage my soul regarding true love towards my sister...from a pure heart.

She is beautiful in the Lord's sight! I pray that through the love {that by HIS strength} I am learning to show her, she will see how much she means to us...through showering her with sincere love from a pure heart, may she see how much Jesus loves her too.