Saturday, September 28, 2013

Some of my Favorite Photos: Rural Living

I love to take pictures.
And I really enjoy editing them!
Not too surprisingly, my favorite subjects tend to be right here on our little farm, the fauna and flora of the country, and small town living.
These photos were taken anywhere from three years ago up to a year ago.
My photography hobby has had to take a back seat as of late to the priority of raising children and taxiing them to their multitude of extracurricular activities.
But looking back through past pictures and the subjects captured causes me to reflect fondly upon those times that I've been able to escape the mundane and allow the creative juices to flow!
 
Lambing Season at the Robinsons 
April2012 317
Aubrey's Bucket-calf, Wally
 
April2011 373
 
 Thistle Seed Head in Drought: Summer 2012
 
july2011 035
 
Samuel's Small Town Church Baptism 
The Little Guy gets Baptized
 
Rain Drop on Barbed Wire
 
august2011 216
 
 
 Lillie's Bantam Chick, Pharaoh
 
Bantam Babies
 
Sisters
 
Sisters
 
 
 Sunrise on the Pasture Across the Road
 
february2012 035
 
 
Deer At The Wichita Wildlife Refuge
 
Deer @ The Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge
 
 Spring Flowers in the Hay Meadow
 
Spring Wildflowers
 
 Damselfly Looking At Me
 
Damselfly Watching Me
 
 Mammoth Sunflower in the Garden
 
Happy Face
 
Grain Elevator: Frederick Oklahoma 
 
Southwest Oklahoma Grain Elevator
 
Strawberry is Barn Sour
 
Strawberry
 
Thanks for looking and have a great day!
Blessings, Julie

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Our 2013 Beach Vacation in Pictures


Tim catching a bonnet head shark at the beach.


The fish gave a good fight.


But after a little while, Tim was able to land it.
We observed it and then let it go.
                                       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We shelled...and searched for shark's teeth.

 
The children flew kites.
 
 
 
And memories were made to cherish always.
 
 
Until next time dear sand and surf, Julie


Friday, April 26, 2013

Just In Case You're Interested

Just in Case You're Interested...

We have a photogenic three-legged dog...



Just in case you're interested...
This is one of my favorite photos of my son.


 
And just in case you're interested...
my oldest daughter is a snappy dresser.
 
It began way back.
 
 

Just in case you're interested...
I dream of bacon, specifically chocolate covered bacon.
And I can't get these images out of my mind!
 
 
 
Just in case you're interested, I drink my coffee every morning from a "Joe's" cup, really.
 
 
 
 
And just in case you're interested...
this is a recent picture of me.
 
 
Okay, not really...but she could be my identical twin.
 
 
Just in case you're interested...
my younger daughter wants to follow in the footsteps of her daddy
and become a vet.
 

 
He's a fantastic teacher also as you can see here where he's teaching about the heart...a cow's heart.
 
(notice the older daughter on the far side)
 
 
Just in case you're interested, one of my favorite places in the world is the beach and soon we'll be heading that direction again ((sighing contentedly)).
 
 
 
And that about wraps it up...just in case you're interested.
 
Blessings, Julie
 
 








Thursday, April 4, 2013

On Being Encouraged in a Fallen World


Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Psalm 43:5


Some days the world can be consuming, it seems to take all I have to just get through it and the thought of getting to crawl in bed at the end of it...is my greatest goal.
Sound depressing?
Some days can be.
Some days are filled with refereeing children's fights and dealing with attitudes that are in no way honorable or even come close to being respectable to those around.
I'm reminded daily and sometimes even moment to moment that we live in a fallen world.
The many warnings from Conservative Christian Family Research groups give credence to my concerns as I strive to bring up my children in the way of the Lord.
The world wants my children, the world desires to see my children turn from the Lord and conform to it's rebellion against our Holy God.
It's a struggle, a battle...an all out exhausting tug-a-war with forces that are stronger than I.
I must remember, I must lean, and I must trust that He will go before me.


Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Isaiah 41:10


Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Deut. 31:6



And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.
II Chron. 20:15

That's right, this battle is not mine, but God's. I must be obedient in what He has put before me and trust Him. I think of Peter, the precious out-spoken and risk taking disciple that desired to walk on water, as Jesus did! As long as His eyes were on His Lord, He rose above the very present waves of water that could consume him. Here is the account in Matthew.

Jesus Walks on the Sea

Matthew 14:22-33:

22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea,[a] tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous,[b] he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
33 Then those who were in the boat came and[c] worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

Peter actually walked on the water (I LOVE IT!) towards Jesus, but it was when his focus was taken from Jesus,...he was distracted, doubted, forgot that the very One who was keeping Him above the water... that he began to sink.
I must remember that He is with me, that He directs my steps, that He is in control, and that my worry and anxious thoughts cannot change my situation nor those around me.
I must go forward with His Word encouraging me:

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Philippians 1:6

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2

Be encouraged as you set your eyes on Him, Our Lord Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith!
Julie



 




Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dogs & Swine


Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. ~Matthew 7:6~

Reading the Bible this morning I came upon this scripture.
I, like you, have read this many times. These are Jesus' words and this is a bit of scripture included in His Sermon on the Mount.
Strangely, this bit of verse stopped me this morning and I looked longer at it. I questioned Him in prayer to help me fully understand this and how to apply it in my own life.
In a time when so much seems to be in turmoil societally and morally speaking in our own nation, when do we NOT witness and speak His word in rebuke towards that which is clearly stated as sin in the Bible? When do we NOT attempt to comfort those that we know to be living in sin and not mindful at all of their spiritual condition?
And who exactly are the "dogs" and "pigs." mentioned in Matthew 7:6?

According to Barnes' Notes on the Bible:

 "Dogs" signify people who spurn, oppose, and abuse that doctrine; people of special sourness and malignity of temper, who meet it like growling and quarrelsome curs, Philippians 3:2; 2 Peter 2:22; Revelation 22:15. "Swine" denote those who would trample the precepts underfoot; people of impurity of life; those who are corrupt, polluted, profane, obscene, and sensual; those who would not know the value of the gospel, and who would tread it down as swine would pearls, 2 Peter 2:22;
Proverbs 11:22.

Other verses that mention dogs and swine are:

He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to the dogs."
~Matthew 15:26~

Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
~Revelation 22:15~

Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
~Philippians 3:2~

Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.
~Isaiah 56:11~

And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase.
~Deut 14:8~

Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.
~Luke 8:33~

After reading several commentaries, I've come to more fully understand that the dogs in Matthew 7:6 signify those that are combative to the Word of God, and will vehemently justify their sin while verbally or even physically abusing those that may try to rebuke or correct them with the Word of God. The swine symbolize those that have no use for the Word of God and hungrily chase after the world while trampling underfoot that which is truly precious and life-saving eternally.
 
Very simplistic to some, I know... but for me, I'm just trying to figure out how it all fits and applies to my life.
When do we as Christians refuse to help those that are in physical and spiritual need? Or do we? When do we keep to ourselves the thirst-quenching and life-giving Words of our Lord and Savior?
 
 
 
Admittedly, I haven't spoken up of my faith and my love for my Savior in times that the Lord was convicting me to do so.
And once again, I'm gently reminded that we are to stay close to Him,... very close..., to be in His Word consistently and in constant prayer so that we will discern through the direction of The Holy Spirit those moments His word is to be spoken in reproof and love.   
 
Abiding in the One who sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood, Jesus Christ! 
Blessings, Julie



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Our Homeschooling Journey: Part 1


Way back and long ago when the girls were still very small, I presented a crazy notion to my husband, "What do you think about homeschooling?" To which he let me know he didn't think a lot about it and the issue was closed for some time.

Then I had our son and once again I brought up the crazy, freaky idea of home educating our progeny. But this time I presented it with much more gusto, increased passion, and the hard to ignore statement, "You either trust me in my ability to educate them or you don't."

So with that manipulative declaration, we pulled our oldest out of a church preschool and I began to scour the Internet and homeschooling catalogs for curriculum. The church we were attending at the time was full of large homeschooling families so advice and encouragement was bountiful. And interestingly I found out quickly that our homeschooling lifestyle would in no way mirror any other. Something that many homeschooling moms/dads struggle with as we do tend to compare the progress and ability of our children to others.

Of course I had objectives as I had not totally turned my back on my Early Childhood/Elementary Education training. And now that the husband was on board and his natural inclination to co-teach was shining through, we began to sort our way through our own educational philosophy as to how we should teach our children as well as what we should teach. I also would like to add here that my husband forgave me for the manipulative ultimatum early on and is fully on board with the decision we now jointly make in home educating. He's an awesome math tutor, field trip organizer, history teacher, and all-around substitute teacher, and more!

 
Our first and most important objective was (and still is) that our children grow up in the knowledge and fear of the Lord. Scripture abounds with exhorting the parents to seek the Lord first in parenting and instruction for the child.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4

And you shall teach them your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
Deut. 11:19

God's Word plainly commands the parent to teach their children His Word. My husband and I strive to make our home as Word-friendly as possible. By that I mean that we have seen the importance of Bible memorization as early as the child can quote scripture to be paramount. Tim taught the verse John 3:16 to each child and they were able to quote it by age three. The girls were very active in the Awana program at the church we attended. And Bible devotions and teaching has always been the norm in our home. We believe the Christian should now about their faith, the history of God's people, our wonderful heritage, and how it all interconnects so miraculously and beautifully! It is my desire that God's Word be desired, studied, and consumed like bread by our children.

Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15

How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalms119:103

I must add a disclaimer here. Our journey,...our homeschooling philosophy...is in no way an indictment upon the public school system or to cast judgement upon others. These are our convictions, this is our family, and we are dutifully about what we believe to be God's leading.

Several years ago I heard a wise and trusted homeschooling mother of twelve speak about their journey and how the Lord had directed her to the scripture when challenged by family, friends, and strangers regarding their homeschooling choices. She quoted from the book of Nehemiah as he was instrumental in the rebuilding and reestablishment of Jerusalem in the fifth century B.C. following the Babylonian exile.
The scripture she quoted was Nehemiah 6:1-4.

Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies found out that I had finished rebuilding the wall and that no gaps remained—though we had not yet set up the doors in the gates. So Sanballat and Geshem sent a message asking me to meet them at one of the villages in the plain of Ono.
But I realized they were plotting to harm me, so I replied by sending this message to them: “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?”
Four times they sent the same message, and each time I gave the same reply.

She then made the point that Nehemiah had a mission from God and related that back to our mission as parents. She encouraged by saying don't let the naysayers and those that are critical of what God has laid before you bring you down from your wall. I've remembered those words many times as what we do isn't easy and most of the time is very unpopular and questioned.
But when I look into my children's faces and realize they are my mission field at this season of my life, I am encouraged and strengthened knowing I'm about God's will and purposes for us and His kingdom!


Some of the early resources we used regarding Biblical and character training for our children were:

Awana (Scripture Memorization)

Educating the Wholehearted Child by Sally Clarkson

Charlotte Mason Companion

I'll post more later on the curriculum we've used, what has worked for us and what hasn't, homeschooling co-ops, and that misapplied word, "socialization."


Blessings to you and yours as you love, serve, worship, and obey our Lord Jesus Christ! Julie



       
  
     

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tough Lessons Learned



Back in Mid-January, my husband bought 25 broiler chickens for my son to raise as a 4H project. He will show two chicks at the spring county livestock show in two weeks.

A couple of days ago we came home from visiting a friend to find dead and dying chicks all over the yard and around the chicken tractor they were being kept in. Our three dogs had dug in under the chicken tractor and proceeded to kill whatever they could catch. It was traumatic for my son as he saw the dying chicks suffering from wounds that couldn't be healed.

We were able to save six chicks and of those six only three seem to be healthy and without bite marks. It was a learning experience for all of us and it has made us look a bit differently at our dogs.
No, we don't love them less, we just understand more fully that they are animals and sometimes instinct drives them instead of trained behavior.

Strangely, the dogs have never bothered the free-ranging chickens in the past. That they purposely went for these is a mystery to me.


Once our remaining broilers have been shown and then processed humanely for our consumption, I'll prefer to remember them as they are pictured in the top two photos. The first picture showing them in all their fluffy innocence and the second picture showing a five-day-old chick that my daughter put to sleep by rubbing it's belly.

And for those that think farm living is idyllic, I must interject that farm living is hard work, you have to deal with hard truths, and many times things don't turn out as you had planned and purposed. Early morning feedings in the cold and rain make you question why you do it. And coming home to a yard full of wasteful devastation that makes your children cry and ask, "Why?!" , can make you think twice about the choices you've made. And yet we will still move forward in all this animal craziness knowing the risks are there and the emotions are invested whether we like it or not.

Moving Forward, Julie

Monday, February 11, 2013

This World Is Not My Home



I'm reminded daily that this world is not my home and the energy that I exhaust in trying to find comfort in it is futile. The barbs make themselves known more sharply when we endeavor to live above mediocrity and conform to Christ instead ...of this world. But I must remember that just as my Savior laid down His life for me, I am called to do the same. Remembering:
  
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. ~ Rom. 12:2 ~
 
Blessings, Julie
 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Before & After

 
The girls and I started decoupaging this window frame last year and finished it up this past fall.
But we couldn't figure out what to do with it.
And we wanted to try and sell it at a craft fair in December.
 
BEFORE
 
 
Back in October I posted this photo on facebook and asked for advice on how we could finish it. Quite a few friends gave their advice and it was so helpful! We decided to put chicken wire on the back of the frame for earrings to hang or to post notes! We then put crystal knobs and ceramics knobs on it for necklaces, belts, and/or scarves. There is also a shelf for rings and bracelets.
 
AFTER
 
 
We were not able to sell it at the craft fair. But that's alright because its now hanging in my bedroom and I'm utilizing it!
And just to update here, my girls and I are no longer involved in crafting to sell items. Our plate was too full and it was one item that could be removed to give us a little more flexibility in our schedule.
We made some great memories though...and I hope to keep painting now that I've gotten back into it somewhat. I'm still learning that there is a season for all things.
Blessings, Julie

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Silhouette


Oklahoma sunrises and sunsets can make for the near-perfect silhouette photo opportunity.


I love the contrast,...the natural contrast of color and light, but also how this speaks to me poetically. The dead seed-head played dramatically against the sun's departure.



                                 God's flourish of color and last glowing light before darkness.
I'm reminded of a children's book that my husband and I read consistently to our little ones night after night at their insistence, "Goodnight Moon."


But in this case, I'll say, rather expectantly, "Goodnight, Sun."

I'm also reminded of this:

There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.  ~ Rev. 22:5 ~

Blessings, Julie