Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Still around, spring is here

I am still here--albeit on a much more limited basis. The weather is finally turning and as with everyone else I know--there is much to be done. I am currently reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, which I really like, along with Parenting Teens with Love & Logic by Jim Fay--which thankfully showed me some large areas where I was totally screwing up and making life miserable for everyone. (Thanks to the mom on the Sonlight board who mentioned this parenting "philosophy".) Handyman and I had listened to this guy's tapes way back when #1 was just a sprout and we really liked his style. Fortunately, there's a book for parenting teens, because I sure need it!

I was the easiest kid in the world to raise and my parents only had me. So they have this really skewed view that all kids should be willing to please, like I was, and if not, a quick paddling or mortification should shape things up pretty quick! Ha!

I am still keeping my laundry put away, which has been a big blessing, not having full baskets sitting all around the house for weeks. The rooster is spending his first night in the barn since, oh, December! I am a much better kitchen cleaner than I used to be--and I owe it all to my long-lost friend Leslie, who always smiled and could clean a kitchen faster than a white tornado! I think of her often, when I want to leave a plate sitting there for hours, "in case someone comes back and wants it" or when I want to bolt out of there when it's not done, "because I have other things that need my attention". I notice that when I just keep going and finish, it is rewarding to walk back into the room that's clean.

I uncovered the flower beds today. Lots of leaves and horse manure from the winter that I dumped on top. Don't know if that was a good idea or not--we'll find out later this summer. I did buy a pair of climbing red roses from Costco. I can't wait to get them put in. I want to repaint the front door this spring too--a dark blue-purple, like a purple pansy. I think it will be very striking and unique with the green paint of the house. Handyman (who is very choosey about things like that) told me last year that I could paint it.

The riding ring is staked out and will get started in the next month or so. Can't wait. This year's riding will be so different. Last year at this time we still had "Wild man" the unbroken horse who got sold last fall. Reno (the prince) didn't arrive here until mid-July. It's tough finding good used tack. I need another youth saddle, preferably with a wide tree since Princess is almost as wide as she is long.

Thanks to Joan for the nice post, encouraging me and missing me. I think about blogging almost every day. There's things I think would be funny or interesting, but my family life is needing my attention and direction and I certainly want to excel in that one area above all others.

I went and changed out of my polar-fleece jeans today!! That's a landmark moment. I don't think I've gone without them since October or something! We're supposed to have 8 days of rain in the next 10. Great. I mentioned to someone the other day that I wasn't going to live here forever and he said, "Yeah, that's what we all say."

Happy spring to all! Kids are in bed. Handyman is snoring and the cats are all perched on my desk. Gotta go hay!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I'm sure you've noticed...

my blogging has been dramatically reduced. Due to the posting I linked to in my previous post, and conviction from it, I have cut back on my blogging. Although it's very fun, it quickly becomes a vanity and/or an escape. My blogging was ever present in my mind and considerations and replaced a myriad of other, actually-more important things. I was skipping off to the computer to jot things down when there were pressing home responsibilities that were being set aside.

Now I do not let my kids skip off to the computer to do a little this or a little that. And their father and I do not enjoy seeing their little faces gazing up at the glowing screen all the time, so I felt it was a little hypocritical to be doing just that. I have a lot on my plate here and need to be devoted to my own cause (and theirs.)

Sooooooo, spring is coming. We are working on several different things and Easter is almost here. Here's hoping you're putting yourself under the grow light--press on, run the race you've been called to and run it to win!


Sunday, March 9, 2008


I came across this powerful post while trolling this morning. Methinks I have become way too enamored with myself and my things lately. This spoke to me strongly and I think, interestingly on a Sunday morning.

Tis time for contemplative thought and practical application. Although Sundays are my days to do no work, I feel enough of that went on yesterday. Sundays are also my days to make those big plans for the week, which I too often slap-dash through. Perhaps a little more effort and a little less trolling.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Okay, I couldn't resist one more...

In fact, I think this one is a more accurate assessment of my personality--

What Your Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwich Means

Your eating style is reserved. You are a bit of a fussy eater, and you have very specific ways you like your food prepared.

You have an average sweet tooth. While you enjoy desserts, they aren't exactly your downfall.

Your taste in food tends to be quite eclectic and wide. You are an adventurous eater, and you like many types of cuisines.

You belong to a class that's all your own. You resist rules and traditions of any sort.

You are a tough person who isn't afraid to live life fully. There isn't a lot that scares you.

Precise and controlled, you can be a bit anal retentive when it comes to how you like things. You're definitely a perfectionist.

How Rare Is Your Personality?

Your Personality is Somewhat Rare (ESFP)

Your personality type is playful, charming, open minded, and energetic.

Only about 7% of all people have your personality, including 9% of all women and 5% of all men

You are Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Perceiving.


Finally, I have some time to introduce myself! My name is "Netherfieldmom", because we LOVE Pride & Prejudice, actually all things Austen, most things English and historical. We live on a small hobby farm in the Midwest where the scenery is pretty boring and the weather is just ridiculous (although I am trying really hard not to complain, as has been my hobby this year.)

Our house was sold "as is", so we live in remodeling and that creates its own atmosphere of struggle/creativity and adaptability. We have three brainiac beautiful daughters, 14, 9 and 4. And I feel confident that I am one of the very few women in the United States who has a rooster living in her kitchen. Fear not, germ-phobic friends, lots of newspaper, a good sweeper and Yankee Candles keep the Board of Health at bay.

We homeschool, not because we ever intended to, but the Lord had plans for us--big plans. It is a challenge and it stretches me, a lot--hence my blog name. I always feel like I need to grow more and faster. I suppose that's good, actually. It is wonderful to decide my own schedule and not have to dance to anyone else's, but I think it makes me somewhat of a rebel, in a good way. "It's my life and I'll decide how to live it," kind of way.

We garden, we have chickens and horses and corgis (Welsh herding dogs) and cats. Both sets of our parents are living nearby, so we have elder care for his--making us the sandwich generation. We have loving family and friends. I really live a charmed life and I recognize it most of the time.

My husband is in the movie business although most of his time is spent in the much less glamour-filled role of lighting commercials...hospitals, groceries, appliance stores, restaurants, politicians. He is a lighting mercenary, known as a gaffer. He did films before we had children and now relishes staying home with his family more than travelling for months at a time. (Someday, we'll go do Lord of the Rings IV!! :)) We met at an antique auction, where he didn't tell me his name, but due to divine cooperation, I was able to hunt him down like a prize elk and well, the rest is a great story for another day.

I have ridden horses since childhood, competing through college and teaching into adulthood, finally "retiring" when my kids started costing more time than my riding could allow. Now, my husband has re-ensconced my dream, building me a barn, putting in four million fence posts and working himself to a lather to allow me to "have it all".

We raised chickens with some friends a couple of years ago, and still have that flock, including a couple of banties that we raised ourselves (with the help of a willing hen and the US Postal Service). They are dirty, silly, entertaining and friendly, and they make something to show for your work--as opposed to the horses who just make something to make you work (although my tomatoes may provide evidence of something worthwhile coming from horses--we'll see.)

I love to scrapbook, knit, crochet and do anything horse related. I read a lot whenever possible, which is usually in ten-minute bursts in the bathroom. We have books sitting on every horizontal surface of our house and we like to cook together when we're not building something. I used to grind wheat and bake bread, but my horses have eaten up all my time to do relaxing things. Maybe if I could stop standing there talking to them and brushing their tails while they eat.

Hope to meet lots of new readers this week! Gotta go hay!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Here It Comes!

The Ultimate Blog Party starts today and I'm jumping on the Mr. Linky! There were over 1,000 participating blogs last year and it's a terrific opportunity to see and be seen, in a family-friendly, female-only blogger environment. This event is put on by 5 Minutes for Mom and there are a ton of prizes to be given away over the next week!

I hope I win one! The last prize I won was a new manual typewriter with a case, my senior year of high school--what a treat that was! I won a writing contest for high school journalists--imagine that? And, I'm back at it...

Add your blog to the list and hopefully we'll all be seeing lots of new visitors!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Weather and warfare

Short of a national weather emergency, I really don't think weather gets much worse than today. I actually heard the weatherman on the radio announce that we might have "thunder snow". Yes, he said "thunder snow". Give me a stinking break. Thankfully, Handyman brought home the super-dee-duper, extra-large dose of sawdust last week, so Princess and Reno are safe and dry on their little beach island, munching their $7/bale hay--some of which they LOVE and some of which they tolerate. (Sometimes I sprinkle the leavings of the yummy over the flakes of the so-so to tempt them. Not that Princess has ever turned down a meal. This girl should be in a commercial for Jenny Craig.)

Anyhoo, since our sermon yesterday asked us to recommit to renewed prayer life and since I did recommit and since I did read my Bible and spend time really praying yesterday morning, you could pretty much guarantee that there would be a renewed spiritual focus on my house as a target yesterday, and not in a good way. I was pretty much able to ride it out, thanks to my prayer time and my recognition of spiritual battles. The dark one is not going to give up easily, and my arrows must have strong futures before them to warrant such attacks to keep them. I won't go too far but to say that God is faithful and strong. I was telling Handyman the other day, God doesn't guarantee that we will even see the fruits of our labors. He has called us to labor, that's it. I don't have to worry that I am responsible for the results. I just have to labor faithfully. I am positive that I am not as diligent or righteous as I need to be, and I'm happy to work on those. My position is just to keep working. He does the completing.

It's a freeing thought, really. I watch others fret and fuss and lather over things that they cannot control and I just don't go there. Sometimes I wonder if it's just that I am blissfully unaware or too silly to notice things, but I honestly don't think so. I am just the tiniest bit proud of myself to be able to compartmentalize things and say, "That's God's responsibility, not mine." That's a tremendous help for me.

Whenever I feel cornered about different situations, I usually just think, "Well, Lord, this is your deal. I'm doing my end, the rest is up to you. Can't wait to see what you've got." and within 20 minutes, there is usually a sea-change of emotion. It's tangible and I get to enjoy another miracle in my midst. Sometimes #1 asks me how I am sure that God is real and I don't have to hesitate. I have a couple of stock answers: There is no proof of any mistake in the Bible; Elephants have four knees and their udders are in the front; Giraffes' heads don't pop off when they drink; and most importantly, God has never failed me, ever.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Re-entry day

Yesterday was 65 degrees on your Fahrenheit dial here in West-of-Ohio. It was awesome! After church, Handyman and I worked out where the riding ring is going to go. Yea! Can't wait! Then #2 brought us lemonade and we soaked up the vitamin D, while John the rooster hung out in the garden bed and #3 swang (is that a word?) on the tire swing. It was glorious.

Then Handyman decided that we should shoot our guns. Now, we do own guns. We (he) shoot(s) starlings with them, and the occasional oppossum, times 4. (That's a story for another day.) My dad bought me a 410 shotgun, to protect myself from all the serial criminals that my mom is sure are going to come here; and we have a 16 gauge, (which is bigger for all you novices, like me).
Handyman decided that the 410 needed cleaning so we should shoot the other one. I decided that since the sun was out and #2 passed her Hunters Ed course, that I was feeling brave and tough, so I could shoot it. Even though it felt pretty heavy, carrying it to the backyard. Still, I have jumped jumps on big, scarey horses; I have stuck my hand into fighting dogs; I have picked boogers out of other people's noses; what could be harder? We had our hearing protection (well two of us did, the other one used fingers); we had our vision protection (well one of us did, the other ones blinked). We were armed and protected.

So he shot first. Bang! That was short and over problem. He told me not to bend my face over to the gun, but lift the gun up against my cheek and point it at the target. Whammo! I'm surprised I was still holding it when it was done. I think I said something like "Ow! I'm never doing that again," and handed it off pretty fast. I was mostly thankful that I didn't slam it into my cheekbone or something. Thinking back on it now, it seems like nothing, but at the time I was pretty slick.

My dad had told me he was buying me the 410 so I didn't get knocked on my butt. I love my dad; I trust my dad. He watches out for me and my mom. When Handyman brought out that bigger gun, I asked him if it was going to knock me down and he said, "No," in a tone that implied, of course not. I love my husband; I trust my husband; but my husband is pretty sure I can do just about anything he can do, which is flattering. I'm not sure he has ever said, "I don't think you can do that." It imbues great confidence to me. Once we carried a couch around to the back of our house and I was so mad at him, because it was the heaviest thing I had ever carried and I couldn't believe he could think that I could/should carry it!

So, on the one hand, I am pumped that he thinks I'm tough and on the other I'm slicked that he thinks I'm tough! and not delicate. Soooooo, he cleans the 410 and brings it out and we have another go 'round. By this time, I'm thinking it wasn't THAT big of a deal. And, after all, I want to be able to chase off a coyote if it goes after my little princess Tashetta.

Sooooo, again, he shoots. I get all ready, turn off the safety and chicken out. It's the anticipation of being whammed again. I say, "I don't want to do this," and take the gun down, but then for some reason, I don't want to be a weenie, I guess, I shoulder the gun again, flip the switch and pull the trigger.

And dag-gone-it if that thing isn't just about as bad as the first one! Dang it! It's like being kicked by a pony. Now, why on God's green earth would I sign up to do that, on purpose?? That's about the dumbest thing ever. That's why I married a big guy. He's supposed to do that painful stuff. I think I said ouch again, and was just mad as I handed it off again. I knew it was going to be not fun and I was mad. Why would anyone want to do that again...and thank you Lord, that I was not born a pioneer.

I did ask, before I shot, if I should go in the house and get my gel saddle pad to put over my shoulder and that certainly would have been a worthwhile trip.

As we were all walking away, I pointed out to Handyman that he should think about my size in proportion to his. Mine being not quite half his, but significantly, SIGNIFICANTLY less than his and that how a gun feels on his shoulder could be SIGNIFICANTLY different than how it would feel on mine. Of course, he felt bad. He wouldn't want me to be hurt.

Then, I tried to get over being mad, pretty fast, since it was sunny out. Then I came around the corner and there was my poor little princess Tashetta, on a rope in the front (since she is a hunter unless there's a tennis ball in action), and she was way over the whole gun thing. She was shivering and wiggling and hiding behind a little potted plant. So, I got over being mad right then and tried to explain to her that it was no big deal.

Well, no big deal for big, burly, tough guys. Some of us are delicate, like an orchid blossom.

Hee hee...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

While you're waiting...

for me to come up with something worthwhile AND original, do yourself a big favor and head over to Pioneer Woman with a big glass of something special and your fuzzy slippers on. If you haven't taken the time to read all 47 chapters of Black Heels to Tractor Wheels (BHTTW), do this tonight. Wait 'til the kids have gone to bed, because trust me, you won't want to be interrupted. But if you are, no sweat, because it's all in do-able chapters. It's a great story, well done.

You'll thank me for it.