Welcome to my blog! I'm a wife, mother of four and a self-employed freelance writer. I live on a dairy farm with my family and I enjoy sharing our life with family, friends and anyone else who wants to visit the farm. There's no telling what the I will write about from day to day, but hopefully you'll be enriched when you stop by! Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Friday, December 13, 2013

In the Midst of an Imperfect Christmas


Nothing means holiday time like cold temps and a white blanket of snow.

Thanksgiving is over, the turkey is gone and now we are thrust full throttle into the Christmas season. There are no excuses now, the decorations have to go up, the gifts have to be purchased and an entire host of traditional foods are waiting to be made and eaten. Are you as overwhelmed as I am at the thought of Christmas being just a couple weeks away?

It could be because I usually wait until the week of Christmas to start shopping while by December 5th I’ve made three batches of fudge and eaten two of them. Can you say sugar high? Good nutrition gets blown out the window in December while mood swings, cortisol production and weigh gain wash over me like a tidal wave ending up five pounds heavier by January 1st.

In addition to all the traditions that must be kept in order for Christmas to arrive, we still have to keep all the necessary plates spinning like laundry, writing, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, bill paying and that highly demanding job  of dairy farming.

While we run here and there to make the holidays happen, we are constantly bombarded with the delusional picture of what Christmas should be in our homes. It begins in November and seems unending with the picture perfect commercials, Hallmark movies with happy romantic endings and the holiday-how-tos helping you prepare for holiday parties, wrapping the perfect gift, decorating the perfect tree and getting your Christmas cards in the mail by black Friday.

The perfect Christmas has come and gone. It happened over 2000 years ago when a world changing baby was born without strings of lights, a warm fire or plates of fudge carefully placed on Christmas china.  One bright star set the world on fire to find this perfect baby, born to imperfect parents.

What appeared as an illegitimate crisis pregnancy ended up being our perfect Savior.  A Savior born without sin into a sinful world that did not deserve Him.

This year, when we pull away the pretty wrappings and soaring expectations of perfection in the middle of our over indulgent celebrations, I hope we find the perfect Savior born to love us in the middle of our imperfect world.

He loves us.

He’s pursuing us.

Turn around and find Him….your Savior born a babe… in a cow barn.

He’s waiting.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Are you insane?


They say that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. That could be true, of course I could define insanity in several ways….like four kids in six years or thinking a batch of cookies could last more than 2 hours or trying to be a PC mom by not letting my kids play with guns when God gave them a built in gun in their thumb and index finger.

Insane or not, there are some days when we struggle with doing the same wrong thing over and over and over again. Are you with me? Do you hang out in this camp? We try to change and we do for a while but then we find ourselves back at the camp fire of self-condemnation saying, “Why did I do that again? I thought I was passed this.”

Overspending, lying, laziness, gluttony, over indulgence, immorality, addiction of all kinds, you name it, we can struggle with it. So what’s the answer?

If I knew that, I could put on seminars and get paid the big bucks for solving all our problems! But I do have a couple of words of encouragement.

Doing one thing intentionally every day to try to break the cycle of your wrong choices can really add up. No one can change overnight but little by little we can change using intentionality every day. Just one thing.

And please, if you get nothing else out of this remember that you aren’t the failure you may see in the mirror. Self-condemnation can only drive you into a wall of going nowhere. It stops you from getting better and keeps you slogging through the muck and mire of hopelessness and yes…insanity!

You can only face today, tomorrow won’t come today. Today can be one intentional choice different than yesterday. Make one good choice today and enjoy a well-deserved feeling of satisfaction!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Another Senior? NO!!!!!

It's been far too long since I have posted here. Don't ask me why, I have no idea. But we need to change that.

This morning at breakfast we were talking about graduation and I realized in just a few short days I will have a senior on my hands again and suddenly I felt exhausted. I need at least two or three years in between senior pictures, senior teas, senior spotlights, graduations, open houses and that oh so popular but always annoying saying, "I don't have to do that....I'm a senior."


Sarah will be graduating in a year. It seems like forever away, but it's not. I swear I will blink my eyes and we will be sorting through pictures to put on a collage board, making albums of certificates and wondering if we should invite this person or that family. No....I don't wanna go through this yet! Can I protest now?

Worse yet are the decisions she will make for college. She wants to go on college visits, she wants to make an informed selection, she is particular about where she is going. While I badgered my two older boys into signing up for classes at the local community college and urged them to study, I feel like I will be pulling back the reins saying "Whoa Sarah....not so fast...I'm not ready for you to be gone yet!"

This is the little girl I prayed over as soon as she was born. This is the little girl who broke the string of boy grandchildren and ended up as the ONLY girl in the family on both sides....and still is... even with great grandchildren! This is the little one I dressed up in the frilliest pink dresses and paraded  around to every mother and daughter banquet there was to attend.  This is the same young lady who is willing to step up and can be entrusted to take care of the farm while her father and I attend sporting events. This is the strong-willed young lady who has turned into a leader and will not settle for second best.

Is it any wonder I'm not ready to give her up to the world? Oh yes, there have been days when she has tested my will and has made me cringe at my own humanity, but there are other days when I wonder why God would ever entrust me with such a beautiful young lady. And where did she get her organizational skills and her drive and determination to be early to everything???? Ya, that was God too.

It's time to muster up my energy and courage to take on another senior year. Like a freight train....it's coming down the track and I can either stand by and watch it, get run over or hop on and enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

God is in the Texting!

I was texting a friend early this morning as we were discussing a situation about a young man she was concerned about. She explained the situation and the rock and the hard place she seemed to be up against. She wanted to help this young man be successful in his next season of life but felt like it wasn't her place to step in.  I gave her a few quick thoughts but then turned away for a while to work at my desk.

Right on time, the daily devotion from Proverbs 31 Ministries came in my email.  I had just recently found this ministry and signed up for their daily devotionals. 

The devotion was based on Matthew 25:40 "And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'"

Although I had read this passage over and over again, the context was different this morning. It was about how sometimes moms need to step in and protect not only their own children but those children who's moms can't protect them for one reason or another. It elaborated about backing other moms up and helping out where we can.

As soon as I read this, I realized God was speaking to us and I texted my friend and told her about it. The last thing I said was, you're the mom in his corner today, now go do whatever you have to for this young man!

On a sunny Wednesday morning in the middle of August, God was in our texting. He showed up, spoke to us through His word and confirmed what this mom needed to do. He removed the obstacles she was facing and confirmed what she knew all along--she needed to speak up and help him, without reservation.

It's amazing to me that with all that's going on in this world, God, through his grace and perfect timing, used His word, Proverbs 31 Ministries and two texting moms to help a young man, who will face more challenges in his life that most young men his age and give him the boost he needs for a successful launch of the next season of his life.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fear Chokes Us, Confession Releases Us

Do you remember as a child when you made a wrong choice and were so convicted you knew you had to confess the truth? Or when you were caught in a lie and were forced to tell the truth?

It's one of the toughest moments in life when you're so convicted you could choke and yet fear keeps your mouth shut. Fear of disappointing someone or fear of the consequences. No matter what the fear it's powerful and paralyzing.

When you finally do cross that great divide between fear and confession, once those truth-telling words are out of your mouth, relief washes over you and the strength that fear was trying to harness is suddenly unleashed and you feel like you could do anything.

This has happened time and time again with me, from when I was a young child on into adulthood.  Fear can paralyze me beyond belief.

Do you realize with God, none of this takes place. There is no fear. There are no worries. There's just an all knowing God who knows how you feel, what you're thinking, why you do what you do and most assuredly loves you anyway.

As I was praying this morning and confessing things that I need to change, I realized there was no fear in confessing to God, I could spill my guts and tell it all, He already knows it and loves me anyway. He doesn't love my motives, actions or wrong choices but he does love me and that never changes. So when I talk to Him about what I'm doing and he nudges me about what I need to change, I realize it's all done in love. He wants what's best for me. He wants what's best for Him. He wants what's best for us.

And knowing His love for me never changes and His grace for me is never-ending I can do what Hebrews 4:16 suggests - Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

If there was anything that ever made you want to start a relationship with Jesus, this kind of grace can make you not only want to approach Jesus but flat out run into the Saviors arms!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Miracle Just When I Needed It!

I've been called crazy, weak minded, silly, self-righteous, naive and stupid for believing in the one true God. But my belief has never swayed and what happened yesterday just cemented my faith in just exactly who the Great Provider is.

I had to cover an event in Wauseon, Ohio, about 50 miles southeast of the farm. I headed out and was low on gas but decided to wait to fill up until I got to Ohio, where gas is usually cheaper. I went to the event, enjoyed the company of farmers, tried to figure out what the professor from Ohio State University was talking about with drop size, air assist, canopies and drift and then I finally headed home.

Knowing I needed to get gas, I stopped at the cheapest place I found, a Marathon station just south of the Fulton County Fairgrounds. I hopped out, saw that you couldn't pay at the pump and decided I was too hot and too lazy to walk 20 steps into the gas station so I left and looked for the next place to get gas.

I found the next station just south of Morenci and pulled up to the pump. I inserted my debit card, punched in my PIN and took off the gas cap when I noticed I was at a "diesel only" pump. Darn it! So I pushed the cancel button, made sure it was cleared and pulled around to the gas pump.

Repeating my steps, a message flashed on the screen that said, "Please See Cashier." Oh for heaven's sake all I wanted was some gas! So I walked in, stood in line while a cute little girl paid for her goodies and walked out the door. I told the cashier what happened and she said, "Oh, no problem, I'll just run your card here," and so we did. Problem, the card wouldn't work. Looking perplexed I said, "Where's the ATM?"

I decided to get money from the ATM since my card suddenly wouldn't work. The receipt came out and said, "Unable to complete transaction." Looking even more perplexed I walked out the door and wondered what the heck was going on. All I could figure was that I tried to use my card too many times and the bank put a hold on all the funds. Clearly, I was not going to be able to get any money off my card.

I got in my car and headed toward home thinking about my situation:  I was 40 miles from home, my gas tank on empty, one dollar in my wallet and if I was lucky I could scrape up about another dollar in change from my purse! Praying in one sentence, "please Lord, get me home" and cursing myself in the next sentence, "Why didn't you just fill up before you left home?!"

I drove and drove, keeping one eye on the road, the other eye on the gas gauge while wondering just exactly how many pennies I had in my purse. Knowing I had at least $2, I stopped at the next town and figured I'd pump $2 worth of gas, count out my change and pray it would be enough to get me the rest of the way. It would have to be, being stuck on the side of the road on a hot August day was just not in the cards....or so I thought.

I pulled up to the gas pump and counted my change, one more time. I opened the door and stepped toward the gas pump and happened to look down and there on the ground in front of the gas pump was a wad of money. From what I could see it was a five and a couple of ones! I smiled as I bent down and wondered, "Who left this behind? Are they still here?"

I looked around and there wasn't another soul in sight. I thought there must be someone here that had just walked off and dropped it. I looked for anyone who might have seen someone drop it, a car driving away from the pump, someone just walking into the store...someone to whom this money belonged. But there was no one.

No one pumping gas, no one going in or going out of the store, no one driving away, no one.... not one person. Then I began to giggle. And as I giggled, I said, "Thank you God, you are so amazing and so kind to leave a few dollars for me, thank you!"

I pumped my gas still wondering if the person who left this might pop up and ask about it.  I walked in to pay for the gas and the attendant was gabbing on the phone and there were people who were eating in the attached restaurant. It was just a quiet afternoon at the truck stop in Fayette, Ohio.

I walked back out still giggling at God and thanking him for His grace and I couldn't get home fast enough to tell my family about God's provision.

I'm sure you can count the number of times on one hand you found money somewhere out of the ordinary and passed it off as luck. But how many times have you found money somewhere out of the ordinary when you were in desperate need and prayed for a miracle?

Go ahead, call me crazy, weak minded, silly, self-righteous, naive and stupid for believing in the one true God, but I'm a  crazy, weak minded, silly, self-righteous, naive and stupid believer who was given $7 by a loving, gracious, merciful Provider named God. And I love Him!

Friday, July 27, 2012

I forgot to keep telling him.

Jake sat at the dining room table while I was cooking dinner and asked me if I still had a picture of him in his body cast from the accident.  I said, "Yes, it's around here somewhere," as I pointed to the refrigerator full of pictures and schedules.

He told me we needed to keep that around and of course I agreed. Then he explained why, saying that if he ever does something great, like play basketball in college or something cool like that it would be a great story. Ya know, I get run over by my dad in a skid steer, broken leg....body cast.....had to learn to walk again...all that...ya know?

I smiled and said, yes Jake you're right, it would make a great story and I turned around and began to dice the mushrooms. And then I thought about it a little more and realized I had stopped telling him.

In 1999, when God performed the miracle of saving Jake from an accident that should have killed him, I was convinced he was saved for a reason. There's no way any two year old should survive being run over by a two ton piece of farm machinery except that God had performed a miracle for a reason.

Maybe the reason was to spare a dad a life of guilt. Maybe the reason was to spare a mom the heart-wrenching anguish of losing her baby. Or maybe the reason was because God was not quite done with Jacob W. Hart yet.

I'm convinced the reason is the latter and the first two are mere benefits of His miraculous grace. But whatever the reason, I've always said that God had a great plan for Jake, but somewhere in the busyness of four teenagers and farm life and daily writing and all the rest, I had forgotten to tell Jake about God's plan for his life.

The Bible says in Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

It's right there in black and white. God has a plan for each of us, a unique, wonderful, blessed, unimaginable plan for us. It's a promise kept by God. And unless we read it daily, we can lose sight of His plan and that He is in control.

I've tried to remember to tell my kids this, but apparently I stopped telling Jake. So yesterday after he began this God ordained conversation, I walked over, ran my hand over his sweaty head and said, "Yes, Jake, God didn't save you for nothing, He saved you for a reason. He's got great plans for you Jake, plans that you can't even imagine."

Jake smiled.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

An Unlikely and Unforgettable Senior Night

Running through the thick of all the graduating senior activities that are coming fast and furious, last evening was no different as we sat in the gym and listened to each senior in Luke's class give a thank you speech.

I remember JW's Senior Spotlight and it was a real blessing to listen to the kids pour their hearts out to their families and friends.  So I was really looking forward to this night.
Shaun, Luke, Brad and Tom


Luke was the second one to give his speech and in quintessential Luke form, it was short, to the point, no tears and no flash....just Luke saying thank you. 

Many of the other seniors were similar to Luke while others were fighting back the tears saying thank you to their families.  And then there were those who were totally surprising in their humor, delivery and sincerity.

The speeches were nearly finished when one young man got up to give his, Tom. He admitted he wasn't a public speaker, mostly because he doesn't always have anything to say that anyone wants to hear. Tom is an intelligent, deep thinker and this was obvious in what he had to say. But Tom isn't always received well by adults who don't know him, because he's not shy in speaking his opinion and doesn't always show self control with his words or actions. You see, Tom has a form of autism.

Those who really know Tom, love him. They find him funny and have always enjoyed having him around. When he got up to speak, before he even got up there, his classmates were cheering him on with anticipation at what craziness he would bring to this senor night. Tom didn't disappoint. 

He was funny and truthful and quite honestly he caused people to stop, listen and think about life. There was a new appreciation in the room for Tom. But for me, Tom had the best speech of the night.

When Tom and Luke were in 7th grade, he wanted to go to church with us. Elated to have him come,  we picked him up and took him. I wondered what he thought about the whole church thing, but didn't ask. I didn't want to scare him off. So I kept my mouth shut and waited to see if he would come with us again. And from that point on for months and months, the phone would ring at 9 am on Sunday morning and it was Tom letting us know he wanted to go to church.

He was like having another son in the van, they fought, they picked on each other and more than once we had to turn around and tell them all to STOP IT! I never knew what kind of an impact going to church had on Tom. I should have asked, I wish I had asked, but I didn't. All I knew was that he liked it and his mom liked it too. She even began to come and bring her daughter.

Five years later, I finally realized the impact going to church, Sunday after Sunday had on Tom. One of the first things he said in his speech last night was this: "I'd like to thank Luke's parents for introducing me to Jesus."

When I heard that I was instantly in tears. All those Sundays when he climbed in the van and didn't so much as speak a word to me or Bobby.  All those Sundays when I wondered if he was really listening to the sermon or enjoying the music. All those Sundays when I thought his motive was just to hang out with Luke and his brothers.... All those Sundays, Jesus was working in Tom's heart. He knocked on the door and Tom answered.

The one kid who would be voted least likely to want to go to church or even be able to sit still and listen to a sermon for 40 minutes, was now standing in front of all his peers, family members and teachers confessing his thankfulness for knowing Jesus. Instantly, I wanted to run to Tom, hug him and thank him. But instead I sat in my chair and thanked God for showing up in such a beautiful way, for extending His grace to me once more and for reminding me of His faithfulness. This truly was a senior event I will never forget.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Shouldn't We Run?

The pastor had begun preaching his message on evangelism when all of a sudden there was a loud thud and all eyes went to the opposite side of the worship center on a man who had hit the wall and then went down.

Immediately people with medical experience rushed to him, including JW. It was a chance for him to use what he had been learning in EMT training! He had practiced on the entire family at home, but now he had a real live person to ask all those questions! JW got up and ran across the front of the worship center to help out with this man who went down.  After a few minutes the paramedics showed up and took care of this man who was apparently a diabetic.

The pastor resumed his sermon on our responsibility to share Jesus with those around us. As I sat and listened to all the excuses we give for not telling our friends and co-workers about Jesus I began to think about it.  Telling others about salvation is the most important thing we can do as Christians. We have such great news, news that is the difference between spending an eternity in heaven or hell and yet we hold it in our clutches and some of us never share it. There are no educational requirements for sharing it. We don't have to be deacons or Sunday school teachers or pastors to tell others about Jesus. We don't have to know a formula or memorize a speech or even be good a talking to share Jesus, but we do have to open our mouths and share!

Sitting in my seat I thought about the man who collapsed in church and his need for medical attention. People didn't wait for him to ask for help. No one was worried if he would reject their help, they just saw that he needed help and helped him. JW didn't hesitate to run to this man in need, he just ran. Shouldn't this be our reaction as Christians? Do we really need to wait until people are calling out on their deathbed before we offer our good news? Shouldn't we just run to share Jesus with people anytime?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

It's Called a Ripple!

Recently, our pastor, Dr. James Walling, has been emphasizing the ripple effect.  Simply meaning that what we do as Christians should make a ripple like a rock thrown into a pond of water, it ripples.  Our intentional actions for the glory of God should not only effect those directly involved but they should be felt or observed beyond our physical reach...they should ripple!

I have felt the ripple and I want to make it go just a little further across the pond....

A week ago something in my back went haywire and I've been pretty immobile since. I spend a lot of time on my bed with ice on my back and a laptop in my lap. I'm getting better day by day, thanks to a great chiropractor and God answering the prayers of a few prayer warriors.

While my kids have been great at taking up the slack with the house work and the farm, my washing machine decided to quit thus creating a mountain of laundry that would make the most fearless mountain climber tremble.

Never fear my small group is here!

Like the wonderful women they are, the ladies in my small group have diagnosed my washing machine's ailment, suggested who I call to repair it at a reasonable price and one woman has taken on my laundry challenge and at this moment my laundry room has one pair of dirty slacks. This week I've given this woman eight baskets of dirty laundry and we're not talking just stuff the kids wore to school or even sweaty practice clothes. I've sent over manure stained barn clothes that will sure enough make her house smell and put her front load washer to the test.  Each time she's done with my laundry she has had the courage to ask for more! This morning she practically badgered me into bringing more laundry to her until I finally said, "Okay, Okay,you can have it all!"

Not only is this wonderful woman making my life easier but she is making sure my husband has clean jeans, my son has a clean baseball uniform, we have fresh linens on our beds, clean towels in my bathroom and that none of us run out of clean underwear!

This one act of doing the laundry for a farm family of six is what is known as the ripple effect.

Do you ripple?