simplyliving

Simply living the simple life with God, Grace and Giggles

My life verse …not so cheery..but true.

There have been four times in my life when I wallowed in the following scripture.

I soaked it in, rubbed my tear stained face in it, buried my toes in it and squeezed handfuls in my clenched fists. And, here I am, again, today.

THIS IS INDEED MY LIFE VERSE. “Though the cherry trees don’t blossom (WELL, OUR PLUM TREE’S GRAFT IS DEAD, SO WE HAVE A HALF DEAD TREE) and the strawberries don’t ripen, Though the apples are worm-eaten, and the wheat fields stunted,Though the sheep pens are sheepless (WE REHOMED LUCY, EDMUND AND WINSTON YESTERDAY) and the cattle barns empty I’m singing joyful praise to God. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.(BUT NOT PHYSICAL CARTWHEELS JUST EMOTIONAL ONES) …
Counting on God’s Rule to prevail, (AND IT WILL)
I take heart and gain strength. (EVERY DAY I GO TO MY VERY PHYSICAL JOB AND DEFY THE ODDS OF WORKING WITH A MULTI-TORN ROTATOR CUFF AND A KNEE NEEDING REPLACING) yet, I still run like a deer. (MAYBE A DEER WITH A SHORT TENDON). I feel like I’m king (QUEEN) of the mountain. (BECAUSE I AM THE QUEEN OF MY KING WHO LOVES ME NO MATTER WHAT…Lance Baldwin.. AND FOR THE ONE TRUE KING WHO RULES ALL…JESUS….) Habbakuck

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The Day of my 38th Wedding Anniversary

 

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Desolate Waters

 

With Lance still looking for work after his company reorganized and got rid of his position, my life things are in a relative state of chaos so my prayer life has increased. Sad that it takes a crisis to drive me closer to Jesus. But, that’s the way of this flawed human. It’s no doubt why certain songs resonate with me, songs about slipping away from Him but something happens (usually tragic) and we’re back in his presence again. Like these: Back Street Driver, Change THIS heart, That was THEN, this is NOW.

Too many times I  depend on myself, which is scary, or, worse yet, I put the burden of a content life on those around me, especially my husband. How wrong is that?  He is just as flawed as me! And, certainly it is unfair to put him in that position. Nope….my life should be lived squarely The Middle of His heart. When this doesn’t happen, history proves that sooner or later,  I’ll end up depressed, angry, or bitter. Certainly I will not be relishing the full and abundant live Jesus promised in John 10:10 “ I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” The Message Version.

You can’t get away from flawed humans. You are born to them. You are one. Your siblings will be them. Your Aunts, uncles, cousins, teachers, friends, every single person you contact will be a member of the flawed human club. It is carried in us from our first parents, Adam and Eve. 

 

In any relationship it is not up to ANYONE else to make us happy. It is OUR duty, with the filling of the Holy Spirit to live our lives as unto Christ. It took me a while to understand that Lance Baldwin was not here in our relationship to make my every wish and dream come true. He isn’t to fill me with joy, or entertain me, it’s not his job to know my thoughts or whims, or fix my sadness. He is supposed to love me as Christ loves the church..enough that he would give his life for me…and he does. As head of our family he provides for us, he does make me happy and he does entertain me, but that’s because in our relationship, it’s how we roll. I think too many women, Believers, are under the false assumption, as I was that her beloved is to love her as Christ loves the church, and that includes reading her mind. Buying her flowers,  taking her to concerts, or __________, whatever it is that makes her feel happy. Instead, a woman should be finding her joy in her Lord, and those other things, those’ make today happy things’, will follow. Or they won’t. But when they don’t, she won’t get angry, or hurt or bitter, because it is CHRIST in her that makes life good, not her circumstance.

 

A few years ago I wrote an article about divorce. Divorce, The Unpardonable Sin? I was touched by women who were flayed by the church when they sought divorce. Some of these women needed to get away from danger and needed to have freedom, but they were being counseled to stay in the abusive situation.  I think that’s absurd and gives permission for flawed men to take advantage of a doctrine that is not completely understood. Some pastors hold onto that one scripture, “God hates divorce.” And they wield it like a weapon against the already battered woman. There’s very little grace, mercy love or Jesus involved. But, I digress.  I’m getting feedback that my article is giving permission of sorts for young women to quit on thier marriages. Well first of all WHOA, SLOW THE ROLL! My words are written, with good intentions, by a flawed human. They should NOT in any way take place of HIS WORD or be used as any sort of authority.  Secondly, to these women, or anyone going that very wrong route of using flawed humans words and not His holy word, I ask that you take a hard look inward because this is where the problem lies.

It’s sobering to realize thier husbands are flawed, and perhaps not living up to the expectations they had of who thier husband would be. Along with bills, and kids and aging,  turns out marriage is not as fun, or romantic, or as good as they thought it would be. Husbands changed, maybe physically, maybe emotionally, things are hard. In fact, it looks like life is  heading to the ‘worse’ of the ‘for better or worse’,  piece of thier vows and, perhaps, ‘for better until it’s worse,’ or, ‘for better or until something better comes along,” should actually have been thier vows. But, it’s no reason to quit.

Ruth Graham was often fond of saying, “If two people agree on everything one of them is unnecessary.” And, it’s true. Arguments will come and go, sometimes it seems we might be in a never ending season of discord. This is why I urge women to look inward. What is it that you’re lacking? Why are you so unhappy? Why is your husband suddenly your foe. Why do you think you’re marriage is unhealthy? If we listen too often to the unhappy voices of people who have failed in marriage, or who hate men, or watch too much reality tv, too much Oprah, too much Dr. Phil, you’re filling your soul with only things that agree with you.  Instead you must immerse yourself in Him. Do not fall prey to the trash on TV. Or the friends who urge you to fail. Hey, are you married to a yeller? Me, too!  Am I in a taxing relationship? Not even close. Does your husband say mean things to you? Pray for him. Do you say mean things to him? Pray for yourself.Is your husband married to the exact same women he said, “I do,” to? Hmmmm. Probably not. Mine isn’t. There’s more of me. There’s all the stuff that drive him nuts, but I can’t seem to get a hold of..like stacking books, and piles of magazines….is he in an abusive relationship? Hardly. I adore him. We both hold to the adage, “A good marriage is the union of two good forgivers. (Ruth Graham).

Our culture today says if it’s too hard give up and start over. But, God says that a covenant last forever. It’s time to roll up your sleeves, pray for tough skin and a soft heart, and talk with your man. Remember why you two got married in the first place. Before the bitterness, and ridiculously high expectations, and Christ like qualities you placed on your flawed human husband came on. It’s up to you. Only you can change you. Only you can spend time in His word. Only you can pray and battle for your family. Of course, this only works if you’re willing to put in the work. But it is work. And, already you may have found some better ‘way.’

When we said our vows, we didn’t promise to never disappoint one another. That would be silly. He’s flawed, I’m flawed. Disappointment will abound.  Marriage is hard. Life is hard. But, each of us controls our own relationship with God. And, that makes all the difference.

Remember that “It’s CHRIST in you, not YOU in other circumstances.” Elizabeth Elliott

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Winter is not my favorite season.

this is from my homestead blog, but it pertains to LIFE..so here ya go…:)

Baldwin Acres

Except for Christmas, winter is not my favorite season. I think we must be on day 427 in a row of rain and gray skies. The back pasture has flooded at least twice. The pig sty looks like,well, a pig sty.  The damp coolness plays and pokes at my joints and muscles, and my hair is in constant need of a hat. Winter and I do not get along.

When you don’t get along with something you can either live in misery and complain about the situation, which admittedly I do from time to time, or you can look for the good. the old making lemonade out of lemons idea.

IMG_7816 Snow on Baldwin Acres

This winter scene is pretty. Snow makes the scenery a little more beautiful. This is our raised garden and small orchard area. This doesn’t fit into my winter blah scenario because it is lovely, lasts only…

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“We reorganized: your postion has been eliminated.”

WHERE HE LEADS, I WILL FOLLOW…..

 

I’ve been a stay at home mom and then a stay at home wife for the last 15 years. I would refer to myself as a trophy wife, but I’m not as shiny and cold as a statue. I am, however, able to refer to myself as a kept woman. My husband does a fine job of that. We meld together to support and encourage one another, but it was our choice early on in our marriage to follow the biblical mandate for marriage …where the wife is the help mate, created second after the man, not to be less than he, but to complement him, and to be his companion.

 

HE AND I ARE LIVING AN ADVENTURE…TOGETHERIMG_5494

For some this is so confusing. They assume because I’m my husband’s help mate, it makes me less than. This is so far from reality I couldn’t even give an adequate measurement. To be his help mate has meant this:

  1. When he felt the Lord leading him to become a Pastor, we prayed about it, talked about it, discussed it and when it was time to leave the Marine Corps to pursue this venture, I was supportive and not whiny.
  2. When the kids were in school and I had started college, he got called to a church out of state. The idea was I would finish college at the new place, but then kids and work and church life took over, so that got put on the back burner..but I had peace in what I was doing.
  3. When he developed debilitating headaches, I encouraged him to seek help. He isn’t one to go the doctor preferring instead to let things work themselves out, but it was obvious this wasn’t going away. And we worked through the treatment together. We prayed about it together, and together we found a remedy. It’s together we continue the ongoing treatment to make sure these headaches don’t take over again.
  4. It means being there when he needs me and being away when he needs it.
  5. It means praying for him and our children and our family.
  6. It means trusting him. It means we know we complement one another and we understand each has unique God given roles.

He, of course affords me the same things. But, mostly, we are individually who God has called us to be. We are, individually, accountable to Him, and thus, when we are then accountable to one another, it’s much easier. I am free to be the woman God made me to be with all the gifts, talents and flaws, made me to be and loved by a man who continually puts me and his family before him.

There’s a story going around now written by a man who says his wife divorced him because he left the dirty glass by the dishwasher. He said he realizes now it was so important to her that he should have done it then. It’s a respect thing. This piece of writing is getting passed around Facebook and many of my friends re-post with a resounding, AMEN, and when I comment – with a different take, people aren’t so understanding.

While they agree with him, I think when we begin to keep track of who does what for who in a ‘I love you more because I did ____”, we start to expect payback. The things I did to help my husband lead our family in a godly way, weren’t done to get anything, except to fulfill my role. I didn’t think, “I did that so he should do this,”…no, we’re a team, working together. When spouses start expecting payback, or depend on their spouse to make them happy, complete or fulfilled, the relationship will be strained. Each must be in tune with God, that is where our hope, joy, love etc, must come from. No human can do that. Because we’re all flawed. But serving your spouse without thought to payback is refreshingly freeing and wholly biblical. It’s the way we should live our lives. Selflessly.

Instead of getting angry because your spouse doesn’t do something you want, or does something you don’t like, try praying about it and then calmly communicating with them. Don’t make a list, even a mental one, of how disappointed you are in your spouse for their failures. Look instead to the many successes. Ask yourself how you can make things easier, better, calmer. Are you selfish? Do you spend a lot of time wishing you were away from the family, from your husband? Have you talked to God about that because it’s not the way the marriage is supposed to be.

 

When my husband got a call that they had reorganized his company and his position had been eliminated, I was shocked. This is a man who meets his sales numbers, has received numerous company awards and has millions of dollars projected in his pipeline. How could they get rid of him? And, then I got angry. How dare they dismiss him like this. Obviously his former manager has no business sense. But, once they anger dissipated, I found myself praying for him, for his former boss, and for his future position.

Our adult children have been our biggest champions, calling to check on us, offering help, networking for us and praying with us. They remind us that God has this under control and there’s no reason to fear. Because of those encouraging words, we remembered the time my husband had lost three jobs in one year. But, we never missed one paycheck. Maybe things won’t work that way this time, maybe they will. But my prayer is that God will bless him with a job that is perfect for him. Something that fits well, and with good managers. And seeking how I can be helpful during this time. Because that is my job. Help mate..I’m not less than, I’m not an after thought, I’m not unimportant, or irrelevant. I am created by God and I am happily the wife of a man who seeks to serve God and love his family. Selflessly we serve one another. Together we are united and serving our one true king, Jesus.

FAITHISKNOWING

 

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God’s Doing Something Brand-new! Forget it. Be Alert. Be Present.

“God says…Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
    It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
    rivers in the badlands.” Isaiah 43 the Message

This is the first bible reading for 2016 for me and how wonderful it is! I’m so ready to embrace every piece of it!

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Forget about what’s happened. Forget what? What’s happened!

Don’t keep going over old history. Forget about childhood things that still might haunt you. Forget about hurt inflicted on you throughout your life.  Forget about the times you’ve failed at it…failed at work, failed at discipline, f]failed at relationships, failed at FILL IN THE BLANK. Forget about when you thought God said go here and you did and things didn’t work out, or you didn’t go and now you live in regret. Leave history where it belongs, in the past!

Be Alert! Be praying, be listening, be watching, be waiting. What is God doing around you? What is God doing IN you? Be Alert to situations, be alert to people. Where can you help? How can you pray? What can you do? Pray and listen. Be Alert.

Be Present! Be THERE. Be HERE. In your conversations be THERE. In your prayers, be THERE. Don’t be distracted by the world, or your worries. What is God doing NOW? What is God saying to YOU? How can you help your child? Husband? Wife? Friend? Grandchild? When you’re there – be THERE. Engage in conversation. Listen, ask, talk. Everything doesn’t have to be a chore or a lecture. Laugh. But to laugh you have to be present. You have to have been listening. You have to look at people, hear people, and love people. Be Present, wherever He puts you, be THERE.

Why? Why forget? Why let history go. Why be Alert? Why be Present? Because He is about to do a BRAND-NEW thing. I can’t even imagine what that would be. But I’m excited to see it. I’m excited to live it. He is God. I am me,  believer saved only by His incredible grace. What is it He is going to do in me, around me, through me?

What BRAND-NEW thing is He going to do in YOU, around YOU, through YOU? Are you ready?

Where we once wandered in the deserts of our souls, He will provide roads. Where we once thirsted and suffered dry arid circumstance, He will make rivers. I’m ready to walk, ready to swim, ready to drink. How about you?

2016: Forget. Let history go. Be Alert. Be Present. Be ready to hike on new roads and explore new waterways.  Be His. And, He is already making the way for you and me.

FAITHISKNOWING

Blessings on you this new year full of fresh and incredible possibilities.

xo Linda Mae

 

 

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So much POOP. What about Fleas? Diatomaceous earth. Part One.

Poop is disgusting, No one wants to mess with poop. But poop can be a great indicator of ours and our animals health. So checking poop is a necessary part of animal husbandry. Ick.

Source: So much POOP. What about Fleas? Diatomaceous earth. Part One.

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Fall at Baldwin Acres (and what we’ve learned)

Source: Fall at Baldwin Acres (and what we’ve learned)

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Trial and Error OR Trial and Success?!

Trial and Error OR Trial and Success?!.

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Trial and Error OR Trial and Success?!

The last few years have challenged me on many levels. God has moved us back home from Australia, blessed us with a beautiful home on acreage and this is where my troubles start.

We decided, when we moved here, to try to homestead/hobby farm it. Tired of factory farms and manufactured food, we strive to grow our own. Grow our own everything. But in trying new things, there’s been many failures. What I’ve learned is that I focus more on the failures than on my successes. Just because there are more failures than success doesn’t mean that I should focus more (means: beat myself more) over the failures.

I use social media a lot. Keeps me connected to friends and family. I noticed that I often posted about the seeds that didn’t germinate, the chicken that doesn’t lay, the baby turkey that died, the goat that was supposed to be a whether but clearly isn’t, the corn that isn’t ‘knee high by fourth of July’, the onion bed that got dug up by chickens, just to name a few. Now, of course, some of those things aren’t my responsibility, I didn’t band the goat for instance, but still they are ‘failures’ in our homestead.

When there are many failures and few successes, I reckon a person aught to focus more on successes and learn from the failures. When you handle it this way the failures become part of the successes and the failures are lighter on a person’s spirit.

In that new frame of thought, here’s a list of our homestead’s failures turned to successes, and hints for you, if you’re about to try some of these things, too.

1. FAILURE: RESCUED LIVESTOCK: The first livestock we got were two Jacob sheep. A friend of a family member said she had to get rid of these sheep because her neighborhood was not livestock friendly. She seemed a bit distraught so we paid her what she paid for them and brought them home. They are skittish and not too friendly. But, they do a great job of keeping the pasture ‘mowed. From this same friend we bought her Kinder goats (for the same reason she gave about the sheep). The male was supposed to be a whether (castrated) but he hit puberty, dropped a testicle (did he have 3?), and he’s been bucky ever since.

LESSON: Do not acquire ANYTHING based on your emotions. Have a plan. Why do you want it? What will you do with it? How much will it cost to feed? We have since noticed that the former owner of our flerd (a mix of a herd and a flock), has two new female pygmy goats who are pregnant. Now, if we focused on the negativity that could get into a whole other head game. So we aren’t.

SUCCESS: We have acquired a ram Jacob sheep who will hopefully breed with our female ewe. The Jacob’s have gorgeous fleece and once I learn how to spin, I’ll be able to make some amazing items. We also acquired a Nubian goat ram to mate with our female Kinder goat. While our whether goat has all the characteristics of a buck (he pees on himself, he bothers the females, he stinks and he is very vocal), he seems to be not fertile. We are going to try goat dairy-farming. Making cheese and using raw milk for the pigs.

Meet T. He's supposed to be whether, but he's not

Meet T. He’s supposed to be whether, but he’s not

2. FAILURE: DIDN’T KNOW BREEDS: We started out with chickens so we could have fresh eggs. At first, I couldn’t eat the eggs because I saw where they came from – I mean I didn’t want too much fresh protein but I got over that. I was delighted to learn that some chickens lay green or blue eggs. We bought a mix breed flock, and they’ve done okay. Although we did lose one at the beginning. We’re not sure why she died, but another chick looked like she was going to her demise and when we tried to do the right thing and help her out of her misery, we actually gave her a neck adjustment and she is now, one of our more colorful personalities out there.

We added turkeys to our flock, however, our intention is that our farm be heritage breeds. These breeds tend to be heartier and some of their numbers were so low We bought what the farm store had in stock at the time: BBW Big breasted whites. The problem with this breed is that man has bred it so poorly to have the white turkey breast we love to eat, that these poor things cannot naturally mate, and they are not a heritage breed. For the sake of the BBW you must cull them with in months or they get some serious health problems such as legs collapsing under weight and heart rupturing.

LESSON: If you’re going to mix breed your chickens, maybe do it not on egg colors (although it is cool to give people green eggs), but on meat/egg types. We’ve yet to eat anything we’ve grown except for vegetables and fruit. But, I really am looking forward to eating non-vaccinated, non-saltwater injected, non-factory poultry. Also, learn about chicken poop types before they get too big, because poultry poop is diverse and one could get over concerned with it when it’s not an issue at all. We again, learned to research first, evaluate, buy later.
SUCCESS: Because we had our chickens first, we were confident enough to add to our poultry with some turkeys. Once you get used to one type of ‘easy’ livestock you can branch out but always do your research. We should have stayed out of the BBW market and brought home the Royal Palms who are a heritage breed and can reproduce.

BBW turkey's taking a break.

BBW turkey’s taking a break.

3. FAILURE: PLANTING FOOD the property we bought has a sizeable garden area with mature fruit trees. This isn’t a failure on our part so much as ignorance. We didn’t even know the trees in the garden area were fruit trees and when spring came along we wondered at the little orbs hanging down? Cherry is pretty obvious as is the pear tree, but the plum-tree and the raspberry bushes had me wondering. After our first year, we had done a lot of research and still managed to can some fruit sources. At the end of the season we had apple pie filling, salsa, Jake’s Mixed Berry Jam, Plum Sauce, pears canned and had dried apple slices, tomatoes, and various herbs.

The next season we had erected a greenhouse, but I didn’t know how to use one and fried some seedlings while others rotted in the wet damp. When we decided to grow sunflowers for feed and corn, it was frustrating to have crows pick the seeds right out of the ground. Deers stripped most of the blueberry’s off the bushes and our raspberries seemed to disappear over night.

LESSON: Take it easy on yourself. Don’t plant too early in your area. Keep air circulating if you hit some hot days and have seedlings in the greenhouse. Read up on gardening for your specific areas. I learned there are seed companies who are targeting the PNW and if I buys seeds through them, they might germinate better than the ones sold in big stores – who aim to sell nationwide without much regard for your specific area. Also, get a seed mat. Especially here where the spring is cold and wet they need the extra oomph a little bottom heat can produce.
SUCCESS: This year, so far, we’ been harvesting beans, peas, french breakfast radishes and cucumbers. (I’m particularly delighted with the cucumbers because I killed them last year as well as the radishes). A book that has helped me immensely is Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades by Steve Solomon. Awesome hints, tips, helps based on his experience which is wide and deep.

Plums...yum.....finally made a batch of fruit leather that is edible!

Plums…yum…..finally made a batch of fruit leather that is edible!

There is still so much to learn. The first time I made plum fruit leather (from a method I learned on Pinterest) it was horrible. It was too dry, very brittle and sour. What did I learn? Don’t trust everything on Pinterest. Our squashes have grown very well, but our turkeys have dug up our potatoes and our chickens have eaten most of the onions. So, now we have more fences.

For every stumble there is way to catch yourself and move on. Mostly for me, everyday at least once, I’m saying, “I can do ALL things through Christ who lives in me.” This is the greatest encouragement of all.

How’s your life going? Focusing on successes or failures?? Let me know!

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The Return of The Pig

The Return of The Pig.

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