Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sam, Fluffy, and SAD
Nov 29, 2012
Sam is staying!  Yay!  Actually, there was a bit of an uproar that he needed to leave by December 1st, so I suggested that he change forms for the winter and stay on with us until Spring.  It took some “thinking outside the box”, but now Sam is the unmeltable snowman.  He kept the stuff (straw in a white trash bag) of his Autumn self, added a wintery head (cotton balls in a clear produce bag), and viola’! Add winter hat(s), mittens, scarf, and other clothes, and he’s here to stay.  It has been fun seeing the creativity that Sam has brought out in the kids.  And, he remains as friendly and helpful as ever. When Sam gets done transforming maybe I will get a picture up.
On to Fluffy. And Garfield. And Midnight.  And Mousey Kitty, aka Meow Tse Tung.  We have acquired quite an unwanted cat population.  People seem to think “farm equals drop off your unwanted pets here.”  Or maybe the CATS think “farm equals rodents and other cats and food.” Either way, we have too many four-legged furry friends.  I started feeding them inside the barn instead of the garage, hoping they would get the hint not to constantly be underfoot and attempting to get into the house.  No such luck!  Our cats that we own have no problem moving out to the barn from the garage.  Why can’t the strays??
SAD= Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I do not know everything about it, but I suspect I have it. Basically, it’s a chemical/medical condition caused by the shortened hours of daylight in the winter.  It’s what causes “cabin fever” and “winter blues”.  I think mine set in early this year, like maybe last week during the Thanksgiving holiday.  The symptoms are alleviated by extra vitamins, spending time in front of special lights that mimic sunshine, exercise, adequate rest, and for those who need it, antidepressants.  Knowing the adverse effects of antidepressants and mood stabilizers, I choose to fight for as long as possible by using natural methods.  All that to say, I have officially set up my “atrium” or basement garden.  I have had plants in the basement and kitchen window every winter since moving to Ohio, I think.  But this is the first year that we have had our basement waterproofed, complete with glass windows! And, I now have 2 big wash-tub planters of herbs.  The herbs smelled so good as I lugged the tubs down the cellar steps, trimmed off the frozen extra limbs, and watered them.  I turned on the “plant light” over where I parked my planters, and am determined not to turn it off all winter!  I am actually EXCITED about wintering myself in our “new” basement this winter!  It was so bright between the plant light and the sunshine streaming in through the windows.  In addition to a bay for storage, we have a large play area for the kids, divided into a “boys side” and a “girls side”.  Under the stairs is a compact dressing room for ordinary girls to become princesses.  The playroom is next to my garden area, so the kids can play while I get my sunshine therapy.
Okay, that’s enough rambling for one day....Maybe it will give someone else some ideas or encouragement that they are not alone. At least I will be able to look back and remember my winter preparations.     

Monday, October 15, 2012


October 15, 2012
Meet Sam, the newest resident at Armstrong Arms.  Unlike all the other tenants at the Arms, he is very quiet and does not make or leave random messes.  He is always cheerful, greeting friends both new and old with a smile.  Sam likes to spend his time outdoors and can often be found holding a cat in his lap.  Sam says he will be staying at Armstrong Arms until at least Thanksgiving.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Little Good Things

July 16, 2012
Lately I have not felt like a good mommy.  Or a good wife.  Or a very good Christian.  I am burned out and worn out and ready to give up.  And then, a “little good thing” happens.  And I count my blessings and try to remember that how I feel is just being selfish.  Like tonight after supper.  The girls helped clear the table and went outside for one last play before supper.  And Mommy was feeling worn out, so she put the supper dishes and ‘one last load of laundry’ aside for a few minutes, and followed.  I sat on the edge of the pond with my feet propped on the other side, and just watched and listened for a little while.  The miracle of life occurred again last week, and all the fish eggs that were stuck to the filter are now little black and brown minnows scooting around.  Our one lonely fat goldfish darted here and there.  The girls squabbled over who was a princess, knight, or other royal character as big sister helped everyone find brooms for horses and spent daylily branches for swords.  “Help me braid a crown out of this clover, Sis”, the middle sister called.  Then, I saw him, hiding among the vines I had thrown into the pond to keep them alive after pulling them out when I was weeding 2 weeks ago.  A big fat bright green frog with bulgy eyes and a black stripe down his back.  “Girls, come look!  See him? “  He’s camouflaged so well by a Wise Creator. “Catch him, Mommy” So Mommy reaches for him, only to have him jump back under the water.  The day has really been full of “little good things” when I stop to think about it and be thankful.  Big Sister found some ripe blackberries down by the willow.  “These are sweeter than the raspberries a few weeks ago, Mom.”  The gorgeous bouquet of wild mint, and Queen Anne’s Lace, and other assorted weeds that adorned the meal table.  The supper of meatballs made from home grown beef, accompanied by homegrown squash and herbs and tomatoes.  The snuggly Little Sister and Toddler brother who push their way into Momma’s arms when she’s too busy for hugs and kisses, reminding her of what is truly important.  The Psalm that started the day, reassuring Momma of God’s love and care, “because He knows we are but dust” (103).     

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Christ is all I need

Dr. Dixon always had us sing "Christ is all I Need" to close his Monday chapel services at college.  It sounds like a funeral dirge, but I can just hear the Negro slaves singing it across the generations that separate us.  And my kids like it, maybe because Daddy doesn't.  But I was just reading Katie Davis' blog and it reminded me that I need to remember the message of that simple Negro Spiritual.  Christ is all I need.  I don't need the kids to always behave.  I don't need my husband to always be supportive and sweet and cheerful.  I don't need the dishes and laundry to be done up.  I don't need my parents to be in perfect health.  I don't need enough money to pay all the bills.  I don't need 8 hours of sleep every night.  I NEED CHRIST.  I needed Him to pay the price one time in the past for my sins.  I need Him to one day in the future take away my sinful nature.  And I need Him TODAY to lead me, to guide me, to give me what I need-love, patience, grace, mercy- for this moment.   I need Him today to be my all in all, to meet my every need- physical, spiritual, emotional. "Christ is all I need, Christ is all I need, He's all I need.  Christ is all I need, Christ is all I need, He's all I need."  And then I will have "Victory in Jesus"!  "...and then I cried, Dear Jesus, come and heal my broken spirit. And somehow Jesus came to me and brought to me the victory.  Oh victory in Jesus, my Savior forever.  He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood.  He loved me ere I knew Him, and all my love is due Him.  He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood." And He is all I need, every moment, every day. Amen

Friday, February 10, 2012

New to the Game

Everyone else is blogging, so I thought I'd join the game.  Actually, I find it therapeutic to write; always have.  I needed a different forum than FB to share my thoughts about life.  I needed to expand.  So, here I am....
I want to pay homage to my friends and even the strangers whose blogs I have visited and found encouragement from.  THANK YOU for the inspiration you have been.  Now that I (think) am moving out of the baby-bearing phase and more into the child-rearing and training-to-be-adults phases of motherhood, I want to pass on some of my accumulated knowledge to other Mamas.