Sunday, September 29, 2013

Log Home Tour Part 6: Our Family Room and School Room

Welcome to the Providence Lodge Home Tour!

In part 6, I am showing you our family room.

This room has been in the process of being modified for a school room over the summer.
We have never had a school room before, always using the dining room table.
One day, it just seemed like a good idea to use this big space upstairs for schooling. 
 Inspired, I ordered big maps for the wall..(I adore maps)...added school supplies,
 a bookshelf for reference books, and our extra table.

This room is open to the stairs and hallway, making it feel much bigger than the 18x15 it is.
The french doors will hopefully eventually lead onto a second floor deck.
This room has functioned as our movie room, play room,
 and stringing a sheet across the opening, it becomes a second spare room.

 All of our games, puzzles, coloring books, art supplies and notebooks are now stored 
on the shelving in the corner. 
 Each student also has a basket for their books and nature journal.

Just our reference books are on this bookshelf. 
 I like the idea of having them right at hand.
 The rest of our books 
(well, except the piles of children's books in the living room)
 are down the hall.

At the end of the hall is a cozy spot to read alongside our little library.

Soon, soon we shall see how our new school room works. 
 The time is just around the corner now.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Autumn Glories

Perhaps it is because I am a romantic that autumn is my favorite time of year. 

There is the return to the fireside, calling everyone to gather again for cozy evenings together.
We have been scattered and busy throughout the summer,
 now as the brisk autumn begins, we take up residence in front of the fire
 sipping tea  and reading aloud once more.

Then, the warm afternoons too,
which lure one to drop everything and glory in
autumn's sweet splendor.

There are fall outings to plunder and pillage local fruit trees,
fall luncheons with friends,
and marvelous creations coming from the kitchen with seasonal foods.

Nesting becomes very big with me in the fall.
So much puttering to be done and so little time!
I savor the making of The Winter Beds,
 adding stacks of quilts in the sitting areas,
stocking up on tea, (Market Spice being my favorite fall tea)
the pouring forth of plaids and woolens from the attic,
feathering my nest all warm and cozy for winter.

The fall landscape, so vivid and rich with breathtaking colors,
 the air so clean and crisp, the woodsy smell of earth and trees and wood smoke,
all these things bring me to ponder the possibility that autumn could be
 the most wonderful time of the year.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Harvest Home

As the days shorten, nature begins those subtle changes that I love so; 
the cooling weather adds a crispness to the air,
 the turning of leaves to fluttering  brilliance,
 the autumn flowers so strong and bold compared to the delicate blooms of summer, 
and the fruit ripening on the trees, 
which bring an abundant harvest to our woodsy home.

Last week we harvested numerous boxes of apples from Nanny's trees,
 culminating in over 100 quarts of lovely, sugar free, organic applesauce for the cellar. 

 This week, overflowing baskets and bowls gathered from backyard trees spill over,
 filling the lodge with a sweet aroma of autumn.

A bushel of irresistible Italian Prunes
 is soon to be made into a tantalizing sauce that our family is very fond of.

Perhaps because simple, familiar things are the dearest, 
the fall harvest is supremely gratifying to me.

With Vivaldi ringing out
 and the sticky sweet smell of pears permeating the kitchen,
I dive into a box full of pears for canning.  

I find "The Four Seasons" perfect for pears.

Memories of canning together with family
 mingle with shouts and laughter from the children playing outdoors.

What wondrous life is this I lead?

Plushy surrounded by an abundant providence,
 a loving family, 
a beautiful creation, 
good fellowship and good food..
it is nearly too much- my heart feels as thought it might burst.

Settling in to my rocking chair on the porch, watching the last vestiges of the day,
I ponder the ways of canning, and think,
we are celebrating an heirloom craft:  this preserving of bounty.
The thought lingers, and at the end of the day, 
I am grateful
for that which we have made today which will deliciously fill our bellies come winter.
And until then, fill us grown-ups and children alike,
with the wonder of participating in something our great grandparents also held dear.

A harvest gathered and preserved
satisfies the heart and belly alike.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Agrarian Family's School, week 1: Fishing!

Just about the time most of the homeschooling families are getting out the books
 and sorting out a new schedule, and the public schools are back in session, 
I get all kinds of questions from people wondering if we have started school yet.
Humbly, no, we are not anywhere close, 
although my school room is ready and my books and supplies are waiting. 
 Honestly, it will be a month before we begin any book lessons. 

September is a bad month to begin school, in my opinion.  
If you are an agrarian family, there is a month full of harvesting to be done. 
There are peaches, pears, apples and plums to can, 
it is archery season for elk, 
it is time the last of the firewood gathering,
 the butchering of pigs, 
the end of the garden and the clean up for winter;
 No, our "school" nearly always begins in October.
Not that our education and discipleship of the children has slackened or stopped, 
far from it. 
September, with all its harvesting, has a steep learning curve. 
For us, summer ends with a daddy-son camp trip.
Every boy certainly needs to know how to stream fish, 
this is of great necessity. 

I do love the liberty of homeschooling in Idaho!
When we are done with book learning,
 (which we keep to winter),
 we can be outdoors learning all about God's creation, sustainability,
 and all kinds of woodsman knowledge necessary for any redneck.
Good education is
 most importantly about godly character,
 but also includes a healthy dose of useful skills, as well as book learning.

Far to into the woods, a good 2 1/2 hours of gravel road traveled, the men find their camp site.
The fishing begins promptly.
 Once the boys catch their prey, they must learn how to gut it and prepare it for dinner. 
 In this process, they open the fish up and learn what it has been eating,
 thus making them better fisherman and, hey, this counts for biology, right? 
 Just kidding.  

Brian's intentions of the trip, 
besides catching fish, 
was to spend their away time teaching and training these young men. 
 Each day he used their time around the campfire to read aloud
 "Boyhood and Beyond" by  Bob Schultz
  and talk with the boys about manhood, masculinity, responsibility, and loving God.

Of course, there is much whittling and card games to be done as well, 
squirrels to shoot, 
bees nests to observe and stay away from, 
bugs, frogs, and snakes to find,
 and the quiet of the woods to glory in.

Hearts and creels full, 
they returned home jubilant, triumphant.

The boys had a fabulous time camping with their daddy,
 and they caught 49 fish!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Our Redneck, Country, First Kiss Wedding

When he said he was taking her bear hunting, but it wasn't really a date,

 I had a funny feeling.

When he told me they sat at the kitchen table and talked and sipped coffee for three hours,

 I KNEW he was a goner.

  Yup, sure enough, 8 months later,
 our son is getting married.

He said it was her heart for God that attracted him, but she is a "good little hunter" to boot. 

Together, they planned a lovely country wedding 
with a bit of redneck and a wonderful gospel message.

It was a beautiful day for the momentous event of beginning  a new family.

 Framed in a farming valley fringed in with timbered hills, 
a newly cut hay field hosted a small gathering of friends and family to John and Michelle.

Our lovely Michelle, adorned in ivory lace and cowboy boots rode her horse to the ceremony 
with the romantic bluegrass music of "Ashoken Farewell."

An honored daddy preached and married the son and daughter-in-love.
It was sooo good, I have quoted it here:

"Marriage is honorable because of who established it and gave it meaning.  God created it; He gave it its definition. It started in the garden of Eden when God said of the first man and woman, Adam and Eve…
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24, ESV)
Marriage is a oneness, a representation of completeness.  But it has a deeper meaning than just our happiness and completeness.  This is what the Bible is talking about when the Apostle Paul repeats these words from Genesis in Ephesians 5…
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:30–32, ESV)
God created marriage, not just for our pleasure and happiness, but to serve as a representation of the loving relationship that would exist between His Son Jesus Christ and His church. 
From the Words of Scripture we learn that marriage, although also intended for our pleasure and happiness, is mainly about displaying the covenant-keeping love between Christ and His church. 
Marriage serves as a picture.  Marriage is a picture of the Gospel.  Where Jesus, in perfect love, lays down his life for the church and the church in turn loves and respects Jesus Christ.  This is what we must understand…
Our marriages are a picture of the covenant-keeping love of Christ and the way he has loved those who would believe in Him.  When husbands love their wives with way God designed, and when wives love their husbands the way God designed the world gets to see Jesus through them.
Unfortunately, many marriages have become a terrible representation of this wonderful thing God has done for us in His Son Jesus Christ. 
The truth is, unless a man and a women have experienced the covenant keeping love of Jesus first hand, through faith in his death on the cross for their sins, they really cannot be a good representation in marriage.  That is because they do not have the capability to love in the same way that Christ has loved us. 
The Apostle Paul tells husbands just how to love their wives so that they are that picture…
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” (Ephesians 5:25, ESV)
And he also tells wives how to love their husbands so that they are that picture…
“For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:22–24, NLT)
I find it interesting that both these forms of loving one another in marriage are self-sacrificing.  Loving a wife as Christ loved the church is to sacrifice self, to die to selfish wants and desires.  For a wife to submit her will to her husband and respect him is to sacrifice self, to set aside her wants and desires, her dreams and aspirations in order to be her husband’s help and completer.  So, the main love of marriage is that of self-sacrifice.  And without God, we do not do it well!

We are capable of many kinds of love on our own… without any help from God. We can do friendship kind of love, brotherly kind of love, even erotic love (although often quite badly) without God’s help.  But there is one type of love that we just are no good at without God’s help… and that is the type of love Paul tells husbands to have for their wives and wives to have for their husbands and that is self-sacrificing love.  And, without Christ’s redemptive work in our lives we are just horrible at self-sacrificing love.  And there is one whole chapter in the Bible dedicated to that kind of love… it gives us understanding into what this love looks like played out in our lives.

What Is Love?

The world we live in values things and people based upon their usability. Perhaps you’ve noticed when they use the word “love” as a verb, they mean that the object of their love gives them something they want. For instance, when someone of the world states, “I love my car,” he probably has in mind the benefit the car brings to his life, either through its ability to enhance his image or through its problem-free service. When someone says they love pizza or chocolate or ice cream… it is because it brings such delectable pleasure to their palateJ!
And when someone of the world says he loves his wife, he probably means that she brings him pleasure most of the time, she does what he wants her to do most of the time. As long as she makes him happy and comfortable, she has value to him which he expresses with the term “love.”  The problem is, as soon as that wife, or that husband for that matter, no longer makes them happy, pleasured, comfortable, or pleased then they say they have “fallen out” of love.  That is because the world’s kind of love centers on getting and using.
In stark contrast, God’s kind of love focuses on giving and serving.
The moment we look to someone to be THE source of our happiness or comfort, we put them in the place of God. At that point, loving that person with the love of God becomes an impossibility.
In his first letter to the church in Corinth, the Apostle Paul explains to them the true character of God’s kind of love, a love that gives and serves. 
I want to read this to you, because our society today has such a messed up view of love;  listen… take it to heart… put it into practice and you will have a happy and joyous marriage.
"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NLT)
John and Michelle…
You are capable of loving one another with that kind of love only because you have been set free from selfish forms of love through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ by faith in his death on the cross as being sufficient to pay your sin debt.
However, make no mistake… you are still capable of loving selfishly, and will at times lapse into it… but, because of the forgiveness and freedom that is yours in Christ Jesus, you can, and will return to love each other selflessly.
I know you understand this.  That is why you have asked me to take this time to share with those here celebrating with you… so that they might know that same freedom of loving selflessly by knowing Jesus Christ and his selfless act of dying for their sins.
Now, if you two will stand before me…
John and Michelle, if the solemn vows you are about to make be kept without violation, your lives will be full of joy, and the home you are establishing will abide in peace. 
 No other human ties are more tender,
 no other vows are more sacred than those you are about to assume."

John and Michelle both could not stop from grinning ear to ear.
O happy happy day!

The proud daddy may have shed a few tears as he watched the couple embrace with their
  first ever kiss.

It doesn't get any better than that for mama and daddy.

 Daddy wasn't the only one dabbing his eyes.
Oh no, twas a beautiful wedding full of deep meaning and ceremony
 for two young people whose love for each other is held in high esteem,
 but whose love for Jesus yet higher, 
and this mama was grateful for a lovely hankie given to her for the occasion.

My favorite memory:
A sweet moment together during the ceremony, looking over favorite scriptures from John's well worn Bible
as they took communion together.

The beautiful bride anticipating the day ahead of her.

Our happy family, minus our beloved Scott, who was serving overseas.
It was a perfect day.
A glorious day,
man and woman giving themselves,
vowing  to selflessly love and serve the other all their days.

John and Michelle
August 10, 2013
The beginning of something Divinely beautiful.

Living Counter Cultural: Femininity

Popular culture has a decidedly feminist bent.  Recent movies, tv shows and prominent women  are displaying heroins as   to...