Monday Morning Treasures…

The weekends always fly by with a flurry of family time and activities. I treasure those times so much and will miss them terribly when the kids are gone. The last kid is driving and life is changing at a pace faster than I approve of. When you are raising your kids and have a house full of toys and games and noise and spend your free time running to sports and playdates it seems like it will always just be that way. Then you blink and they are moving out and the house is quiet and life is a little slower and quieter. It’s a bit of a sad time in ways but it’s also a very exciting time.

Time to find my interests again, time to build a stronger relationship with the love of my life and form a new friendship and connection that is hard to do when the focus is the kids. We are planning exciting trips and trying new things together as friends and not just as parents and I love it. This stage of life has it’s stresses like any other but it is also one of my favorites, but that isn’t saying much I have felt that way about every single “stage” so far!

Monday morning’s are often a time of reflection for me. The kids are at school, my husband is at work and I am cleaning up the piles of laundry and dishes from the weekend and putting things back in order. I often use Monday mornings to think about life, the things I want to work on and the things I am so happy with. I rejoice in the positive and give thanks for it and I recognize the negative and am thankful for the challenges it presents to me.

This time of year especially I look forward to getting up early before it gets too warm and checking out my gardens and flowers. This morning was one of my favorite times in late spring, it’s the first “picking” and I look forward to it every single year. When those first tiny baby spinach leaves are ready and those crisp new romaine stalks are big enough to finally make a salad out of. And of course there is nothing like the taste of the first cut of broccoli. I even found a pretty little radish. Little treasures with big taste and the satisfaction that I grew it and it’s real, whole food! Yum. So, here’s to growing kids and growing plants! blog 5-21

Look for your own little treasures and be thankful for another Monday morning!

 

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HAPPY 40TH TO ME!

I had no idea how fast life was going to fly by but it sure is and with every year comes more challenges but also more wisdom. Today I celebrate 40 years! Some easy some hard, but all wonderful!

I married young, became a mom young and learned a lot of lessons very young! And I am so glad I did. My kids are almost grown and the joy of sharing in seeing them become young adults and start their own lives is the most exciting thing I have ever experienced.

The older I get the more I realize life is about the simple things, the real things. Time together with people you love, laughter over stupid things, crying happy tears, appreciating nature and for me personally growing things! Recently we had to take a tree down that was too close to the house (so not as fun as growing something but it had to be done) and as we were cutting up the wood I found this birch tree had a heart. See its the simple things that make me happy. BIRCH HEART

I am so excited to finally see some things starting to grow and have it feel a little more spring like here in good old PA!

I am happy to be alive and healthy and celebrating 40 years on this amazing earth. I have a wonderful husband that has made my life complete, incredible kids and wake up to fresh country air every morning. Life is good and I look forward to seeing what the next 40 holds. Feeling thankful today.

Here are some random pictures of my favorite red maple,IMG_5871

blueberry plants

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strawberry plants

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apple trees

and the beginnings of the potato patch

and a goofy dog and cat that just made me happy, so I hope they make you smile too.

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Happy Monday to you all and wishing you all a wonderful week.

 

Let it grow

There just may be enough signs of spring for me to finally start believing it might actually come to stay!

Wouldn’t that be wonderful! Growing things never ceases to amaze me and bring me joy every single year. I never get tired of sowing seeds and anxiously waiting for the first little sprouts to pop up through the soil. SPROUTS 2Never gets old. I will never stop feeling my heart leap at the first sight of the buds coming out on the trees on the mountain behind my house. I will never get bored of things slowly turning from brown and barren to a whole rainbow of brilliant and beautiful colors! RED BUD TREE

Being outside in the fresh air and sunshine is the best therapy in the world. Take a deep breath and let the stress go. Appreciate the simple things maybe its just a quick chat with your neighbors. And it’s ok if more of my neighbors are cows rather than people, they are very friendly and will listen without saying a word. cow neighbors

Enjoy this spring or by the looks of it maybe even summer like week we are about to have. Look for beauty everywhere sometimes we are so busy we forget to stop and enjoy simple things like a fresh bouquet of flowers. (That’s why I buy myself flowers any chance I get.)tulips Sometimes beauty is right beside us outside our car window, like this gorgeous magnolia tree I spotted while I was waiting at a red light. Happy Tuesday, enjoy every moment!MAGNOLIA TREE

 

Simply Complex

via Daily Prompt: Elaborate

Sometimes we make the mistake of calling things simple that really are anything but simple. Like nature for example, its easy to say lets get back to the simple things in life like enjoying nature or growing a garden or even farming. Sustainable living and all that fun “simple” stuff.

But nature, the natural, beautiful, amazing world we live in is anything but simple. Taking a walk in the woods is about simplicity but the growing changing forest full of wild life and amazing diverse plant life is hardly simple. Growing a garden may sound simple but its a ton of work and sweat, it is simply amazing picking your own food and eating it though. Farming looks quaint and beautiful and a lot of it us but there is a lot of back breaking work and loss and frustration in it too.

More often than not, the simple things are quite elaborate. Enjoy them, appreciate them!

Think Spring!

Thoughts are powerful things but unfortunately not powerful enough to get mother nature to settle down and act spring like when she was supposed to. Although she does seem to be coming around so keep the spring thoughts flowing.

This time of year is always so exciting because all the buds bursting and shoots popping out of the ground, and of course all the beautiful colors remind us of the real things in life. Like how pretty a pansy is after looking at brown trees and brown grass all winter.pansies

Or how wonderful a warm walk in the woods with my family feels!earth day nature walk

Even how great it is to go to the barn and not be freezing when I feed my barnyard friends.cows

And probably my favorite thing is the joy in growing things. Broccoli, radishes, peas, onions, spinach, and romaine are already in the ground and the apple trees, blueberry bushes and strawberries are waking up too!apple

Welcome spring! Thanks for showing up we can only hope your here to stay.

Meet Jennifer…She has a story worth sharing

There are so many ways we can change and impact the world for the better so if you happen to be looking for some new ways to get involved check out Project Liberty International, Inc.
I am always very cautious about who and what I donate money to and for good reason. Many “charities” aren’t doing all that they claim with our hard-earned money and are either wasting money we give or even worse.
Project liberty is a small organization compared to some of the worldwide relief organizations, but it is no less important.

Jennifer Jestes Chana started the organization 16 years ago when she moved to Africa at 24 years old with just a heart full of love and a passion to change kids lives.
A couple years before she had gone on a ministry trip to Africa and after returning to the U.S. she quickly realized that Africa had captured her heart. She knew she belonged there, so after much prayer and working  2 jobs for 2 years to save money, Jenn went back.
She traveled and volunteered at orphanages in South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and even a few in Mexico. Her goal was to find out what model of orphan care was most successful. And she learned what worked and what didn’t. After feeling like a “family home” was where the kids thrived best she decided to return to Mozambique Africa and rent a house. By the end of the first month she had 15 orphans living with her! She had planned on getting settled and educated in the language and culture and preparing the house for at least a year, but God had other plans.
Clearly, she did not have what she needed to provide for all these kids, but she began a walk of faith! A journey that would change her life.
She spent 5 years being Mom to these orphans, running the home, and living in a local African community. Her goal was to figure out what worked and how to solve the problems these kids faced.
In 2006, Jen made a brief trip back to the U.S. to set up a 501( c) (3) called Project Liberty International, Inc. Some of her goals were things like solving the current problems of orphans in MOZ, creating programs for the prevention of HIV/AIDS. She wanted to address unemployment among the older orphans, the need for education for these children and the basic teaching of life skills. The heart of the project has always been centered on Jesus Christ and sharing the message of his love and salvation to the children, but meeting their basic needs is of course the most important thing that must happen on a daily basis.
All this time Jenn had been doing this amazing work as a single woman in a dangerous city where crime and riots and bombings are a normal part of life. But two years ago, God blessed her with a husband wedding pic of Jenn and Chana

and I can only imagine how thankful she is to have a strong pair of arms to fall into when the work of being Mom to a very large family feels overwhelming.
Since moving to MOZ, Jenn has purchased land and began the long and difficult process of building a permanent orphan home further out away from the city. They can grow food garden at orphan homeand build a school and offer even more to these amazing young people that have faced such devastation in their lives. Currently because of lack of funds the building project is on hold and Jenn and her husband, Chana, have now rented a second home in the city to accommodate the ever-growing family. Jenn and family

As you can imagine the hardships that they face trying to manage on average 20 orphan children ranging from toddlers to young adults, is very difficult and requires involvement from other passionate people.
Currently they are struggling and behind on rent and with a $2000 a month food bill to feed them all things are tight because money is limited to what people are willing to give. food orphan home
Due to the terrible economy in MOZ, the cost of living has experienced a 100% spike. Gas, electricity, food and rent all must be met every month. Monthly rent is $900 along with the $2000 cost for food and their limited donor funds are taking a hard hit. And those are only the very basic survival needs.
Please consider checking out Project Liberty at http://www.libertymozambique.org where you can learn more and make a donation. You can sign up for monthly donations through PAYPAL or make a one time donation. You can also follow them on their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/projectlibertymozambique/?fref=ts
Just $50 a month can literally change a child’s life! That money for us is as simple as maybe giving up the $2 a day fancy coffee or lunch out that we didn’t really need so a child can have 3 meals a day for a month and a safe place to sleep at night!!! Think about that!!!orphan home dinner
Donations can also be sent to Project Liberty PO Box 1025, Bethany, Oklahoma, 73008.
We aren’t all brave enough to move to Africa and take care of orphans, but we all could come up with a little extra money to help feed them.

Despite all of the struggles of life in MOZ, Jenn and Chana strive to keep life as normal and family centered as possible!

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These are just some of the precious lives that have been saved and are now in a loving home because one girls passion to do more and because of donors like you and I that keep making it possible for her to be there!