Monday, November 30, 2015

Best of Facebook: November 2015

11/1/2015: Click here to see photo on FB

Feeling like a real farmer this morning getting kicked by a cow!
We bought a beautiful Jersey heifer, Willow, who is currently in milk. This is only her second day on our farm and although she is adjusting well and tolerating me milking her she is easily spooked, ornery and stubborn. Sure brings all those bible verses to life where the Lord compares His people Israel to a stubborn heifer! As time goes on I'll get the hang of it and she'll get used to me. And my little helpers sure loved watching mommy milk a cow "like Ms. Ingalls" lol. Praise the Lord for over 2 gallons of fresh milk this morning! :)

"Wow. What made you want to parent a special needs child!?!" Short answer is I didn't. I cried out to God begging Him to choose someone else more patient, more compassionate and more qualified.

"God, some days are so hard already. Some days I feel so burdened. Why have you called me again to this road of adoption? Can't I back out and trust you will find a better parent for her? I don't feel qualified to parent a special needs child, Lord!"

God calmed my stormy spirit and suddenly one quiet thought passed through my mind.

"Have you forgotten that you know not what tomorrow may bring? Tomorrow one of your six healthy children could be involved in a life-threatening accident that could change their abilities and development forever. Tomorrow your womb may be opened to grow a child with severe disabilities. Tomorrow you could be the parent of a special needs child without an option to back out. You know what? You don't have to be qualified. For God is with you and He cares for the orphans. He will be your strength. He will lift your burdens. If you rely on Him alone He will give you rest. This child will not be a cause of burden for you but one of your biggest BLESSING!"

Five months we have parented a sweet and endearing little girl; one month in the hospital, four months in our home and two months as our beloved daughter! This little girl has shown us and brought more joy into our home than we had before she came. We have watched in awe as she has made a huge impact on everyone she comes in contact with. Everyday as I help her fulfill her every daily activity I thank God for this opportunity to love her. Brittney is so easy to love because she gives far more love than she could ever receive! Anybody could have loved Brittney, she is awesome, but I am so thankful God chose us to be the recipients of His great LOVE through her!

Operation Christmas Child shopping!

Today did not start out as a good day. I broke down into uncontrollable sobs as Brian came out to the stable to help me. Our poor cow got mastitis and is not feeling well. The past couple days have already been a fight to milk her and treat her infection (and no milk for us). But today as I was milking her painful udders our sweet dandy-cat jumped on her back and began kneading with her claws! Instantly I had a flailing 1000lb cow knocking into me and jumping over me. Thank God I was able to get out of the way unharmed but the terror of being trapped and trampled was enough to make my screams heard inside and as Brian came out I broke down in tears explaining what had happened.

This past week has been busy busy making crafts for upcoming craft fairs. We have barely kept up on chores, laundry and all the other mundane household-running stuff. So today we spent the day catching up on much needed farm and house chores. It feels like a never ending job which is why it is sometimes so easy to put off since it will only get messy or dirty again.

I had just opened the fridge to make lunch and thought, "goodness we haven't even bought a turkey yet to start the defrosting!" Sigh, add grocery shopping on our long to-do list. I was disrupted by a slamming door, "Mom someone is at our gate." As our unexpected visitor drove in we went out to greet her, she said she was here with a delivery. She said that one of our neighbors is a member of their church and felt so blessed by our kids that their church bought our family two turkeys and a box of goodies for Thanksgiving dinner! How unexpected!

As if that wasn't enough for God to show His great provision in our lives we got a 2nd unexpected visitor tonight dropping off a decorated tree, lights, and a box of Christmas treats for the kids!

After feeling like a failure this morning, ready to give up on this whole farming venture and thinking what a poorly organized mother I am, this was a beautiful and blessed end to the day. As if I could audibly hear, "I love you, you are doing fine," coming from heaven.

Busy isn't a strong enough word for how this season has felt. Don't get me wrong I am definitely thankful for a season of feeling busy compared to a dull alternative of sitting in a hospital. Yay for busy! With our season of craft fairs and holiday events as well as our normal family and farm stuff we have been holed up at home with non-stop projects. This season is no where near ending either. We have one week until we spend two full days at a Market Days (a local craft fair). As we were buying more beads to make more jewelry my old boss called and asked our family to be on the city's parade float in the annual Winter Festival parade.

I used to work with the city's Special Events office. I loved that job. I seriously got paid to make parade floats. It was just awesome. I loved it! Anyway, so I am now spending every waking moment staring at my sewing machine until I have my crew of seven turned into the cutest elves and reindeer you ever saw!

Oh, and did I tell you I have NO CLUE what I am doing. I don't have a pattern or any experience sewing. I am just winging it and re-doing a lot as I mess up then praying it turns out somewhat looking like I had hoped! I am quite pleased so far!

I'll be able to breath after Saturday. But then we will have a week to play catch up on all the stuff I am not getting done before we head to Orlando. We have four very full days that include a speaking opportunity, a gifted day at Universal Studios, a wedding, visits with friends and a fun reunion! Busy is better than dull! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!!

This is our morning spread. Usually from October 1st to December 1st quite a few colds have passed through our house, not to mention the ear infections, sinus infections and the flu! But this year I am so excited to announce that so far we have been sickness-free! I love when the weather begins to become cool and crisp but I also begin to dread the snotty noses, sore throats and coughs it brings with it. With my news feed being filled with mamas posting about their sick babies I wanted to share the secret to our success thus far.

I am so thankful to God for the wisdom of our wellness doctor who instead of selling us the flu shot (which he said has not proven effective) or preparing for us to "need" antibiotics he prescribed that we load up on vitamin C and D to keep our immune system army ready for battle. Taking just a multivitamin doesn't cut it. In most multivitamins the average dose of vitamin C is 40mg and our doctor recommended 1000mg/day. The average dose of vitamin D is 400iu and our doctor recommended 2000-10,000iu/day. Back in August he tested my vitamin D levels and even though I was taking a daily multivitamin I was severely vitamin D deficient.

Twice in the past two months a little one showed signs of a drippy nose starting or said their throat felt a little scratchy. That is when we whip out the Apple Cider Vinegar (the real stuff with the mother) and after 2-3 tablespoons throughout the day (mixed with warm water, honey and cinnamon) any and all signs of a cold coming on were gone! Quote from OrganicAuthority: "While it’s highly acidic, apple cider vinegar actually helps the body to keep pH levels balanced, which can help prevent colds and flu germs from getting cozy in your nose and chest. A properly alkalized body is unappealing to germs.
Most of us tend to run a bit more acidic, thanks to the standard American diet, so it’s no wonder we spend the winter months battling germs." (Google "flu season apple cider vinegar").

Praise God for getting this far without any cold symptoms and praying for at least two more sick free weeks since we are way too busy currently to be down for a minute!

Posted by Shannon

Monday, November 23, 2015

Free Bead Charm Patterns

With the holidays fast approaching we have been hard at work crafting. Each big kid picked something to hand make. Some picked something that they were good at and some picked something they wanted to learn. 

Sam is great at origami so he made tiny origami jewelry and Christmas tree ornaments. 

Mirabel made no-sew scarves out of recycled t-shirts, click here for scarf craft ideas

More pictures coming soon!

Anthony learned how to make duct tape wallets and other fun stuff out of duct tape. He was the one who made the most Christmas $$$ at our first craft fair! 

Then I taught all the kids the art of beading and jewelry making. They started with making a simple pony bead gecko (click here for easy gecko pattern). Once they got the hang of the concept they then made lots of different patterns from with glass seeds beads and 28g wire instead of pony beads and cord.

All the kids did an awesome job making jewelry. Even the boys, Anthony made the Jack Sparrow necklace and Sam made the gecko bracelet and panda earrings. Risa made the gecko and cow earrings and beaded all the necklaces that Mirabel and I made charms for. Mirabel and I made most of the charms for the earrings. Since some of the pony bead 2-D patterns were still a little too big even using tiny beads I tried to design my own 3-D patterns. I started with making miniture Disney Princesses. Since I think they turned out pretty cute I wanted to share the patterns I made for free here!

Snow White

Belle from Beauty and the Beast


Ariel from the Little Mermaid

Aurora from Sleeping Beauty


Elsa and Anna from Frozen

Merida from Brave

Pictures coming soon...


Pictures coming soon...

Tiana from Princess and the Frog

Pictures coming soon...

Rapunzel from Tangled

Pictures coming soon...

Jasmine from Aladdin

Pictures coming soon...

*BONUS* R2D2 and Yoda from Star Wars

Posted by Shannon

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Joy in the Chaos

a Fun Photo Shoot by Emily Garrison

I cannot say enough good things to convince you that Emily Garrison was an absolute dream to work with! She was creative, fun and, oh, so patient! Bathing, preparing and dressing seven children for a photo shoot is a quite the feat itself but then add seven favorite animals also and well you can only imagine the chaos that could ensue.... ;)

But Emily....she managed to turn our chaos into beauty. Here is the photo shoot in its entirety.

 Ah, we made it safe, on time, nobody's outfit got peed on during the drive and all the animals are cooperating relatively well...

A lovely day for a walk....or a parade! 

Geez...I love this man!

And this crew is my heart! We didn't create this family....we were just willing to be God's canvas! The heart of God.

Doesn't it just all look picture perfect? During the above photos Maggie somehow managed to step in every ant pile in the park while we walked to different photo spots. Each time a screaming panic ensued. Poor little lady! The sun was blaring, we were all getting frazzled and sweaty, at least two kids got stepped on by the horse and Mirabel got peed on by her goat....

 Life ain't always peachy but the chaos in this life doesn't ever have the right to steal our joy!

After a very full photo shoot our photographer surprised us with small whip cream pies. It was explained that we are to hold the pie....

taste the pie....

And smear some pie on the person closest to you's face.

But then free reign was given. Shove the pie, throw the pie, get messy....GO!

And as you can see Anthony was the primary target for such pie fighting goodness.

I just may be beginning to revel in my life of intense chaos yet even deeper joy!





Posted by Shannon
To God be the Glory