The Wedding!!

We planned a small intimate wedding at my mama’s home. We invited immediate family and just a handful of friends who had helped to pray us through the last few months. It was a clear, sunny winter day. We were hoping we would be able to get to our cabin on top of the mountain before the snow began to fall!

The Southern Gentleman asked Elijah to be his best man while I asked Elijah to walk me “down the aisle”.   All of his brothers are married now and I wanted Elijah to have that honor since he was the “last man standing” at home.

Each of my sons played a role in the wedding as did all of my daughters-in-law. My oldest son walked his Grandma in and read our Ketubah (wedding covenant) to everyone there. Another son wrapped us in his Tallit (which symbolized starting our life together wrapped in the Word) and another son was in charge of the wine glass that we would sip from (sealing our covenant) and that would ultimately be shattered (so no one else could ever participate in that covenant). Everyone also helped during our small reception after the ceremony. My grandson was the bearer of love letters for each of us!

I asked one of my daughters to be my matron of honor, cake cutter and photographer, I asked another one to sing the song that I walked down the aisle to – she was nervous but did such an amazing job – and she took pictures! And I asked my other daughter to sing the song that everyone else walked down the aisle to… and she played violin and keyboards!  I have the most amazing, talented and giving daughters – my sons are very blessed to have married the women that they did!

All of the women in my family and a few close friends spent time praying over me before the ceremony – it meant so much to me! I was also able to have a private moment with each of my sons before the ceremony – to be able to thank them individually for all that they had done over the years to take care of their mama! It was such a sweet time!

The ceremony went off without a hitch! We shared some cake and sparkling cider and visited with everyone there. Then we said good-bye and headed for the mountains. It was a clear, cold day. When we got to the top of the mountain, the afternoon sun bathed the front porch of our cabin and it was warm enough to sit and enjoy the view of the amazing mountains that we faced – watching the play of the sunlight and clouds – it was a constantly changing picture of Abba’s creation and His glory!

During our week on top of the mountain (and no….we never came down!), we enjoyed mostly sunny days.  We had one day of light rain,  a day or two of  beautiful snow, amazing stars at night, and the constant view of the mountains by day. We continued to study the Scriptures each day, enjoyed wonderful meals with little effort, kept the fireplaces going, sipped hot cocoa on the porch in the early morning, and enjoyed spending every moment together. It was a glorious week!

Then it was time to head back to reality…where the Southern Gentleman is now known as The Farmer! We began working on the many projects we had planned around our farm and enjoying life together!

You’ll be seeing many of those projects here in the future as I get back to blogging about farm life, cooking from scratch and, of course, using herbs and essential oils to keep us and all our critters healthy!

The Farmer and The Herbalist!

The Farmer and The Herbalist!

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The Proposal (again!)

I had to let the Southern Gentleman know where my heart stood and Abba provided the perfect answer. I was poking around on my church’s website and found an interesting photo. When I clicked on it, it took me to a song by a group who apparently no longer exists.  However, the song just blew me away – it seemed to have been written for my situation!

Part of the lyrics went like this:

Sweetest thing I’ve known
the love that he has shown, to me.
And I can hear it in your tone
and I’m ready to say “I do”.

Uncanny!  The next time the Southern Gentleman came to call, I told him I wanted to play a song for him.  I asked him to relax, close his eyes and listen….and he did.  When the song was over, he opened his eyes and asked me if this meant I was ready.  I smiled and told him yes.  A slow smile spread over his face and he squeezed my hand.

The next day, after we finished our study in the Scriptures, he dropped to one knee in front of me, took my hands and uttered the sweetest proposal I had ever heard. And, of course, I said yes!

He might of gotten a bit teary eyed…and I certainly did too!  He then began to talk of a honeymoon.  He offered me Europe….but I demurred…no…I didn’t really want to go to Europe.  He then asked if I’d like to go on a cruise…that might of tempted me a few years ago but I really didn’t want to do that either.  He seemed a bit puzzled and he asked me what I would like to do. Although I hadn’t really thought about it, I knew instantly what I wanted to do.  I asked if we could go to a cabin up in the mountains for a week…and stay there the entire time. No shopping, no eating out…just being together.

He seemed really surprised and asked me if I was sure.  Yes!  I would bring the meals and we would have 7 glorious days to spend together. The Southern Gentleman got busy finding the perfect cabin and I got busy putting a weeks worth of meals together…and planning a wedding!

This sweet man found a cabin on top of a mountain on 5 acres overlooking a beautiful mountain range. He doubled checked before he booked it, “Honey…are you sure? I hate to see you doing all the cooking – this seems like a pretty low key honeymoon – sure you don’t want to tour Europe or take a cruise?”  I reassured him that this was exactly what I wanted to do.

It didn’t take long to put a weeks worth of meals together. I pre-cooked and froze the meals so that there would be very little cooking to do in our cabin.  It was so easy!

Now…it was time to plan the wedding!

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The Realization

Elijah asked me, with a big grin on his face, “So…how is it going?” I started to answer but realized that I hadn’t really taken the time to examine my own feelings.  I’d been enjoying our studies, our conversations and our times together..and especially the laughter.  The southern gentleman’s wonderful sense of humor kept me laughing. It didn’t matter if it was an email, a phone conversation or in person…we spent a great deal of our time together laughing!

I paused and thought for a few minutes and I think my answer shocked me…..I realized that through out the weeks and months I had begun to fall, ever so gently, in love with the southern gentleman.  It was such a subtle thing that I don’t think I even realized it had happened till that very moment. I looked at Elijah and said, “I think I’m in love.”

He excitedly told me to call his older brother. I reminded him that his brother was traveling and it was late.  I was not going to bother him. Next thing I know, his brother called me. “Hi mom, what’s up?”. “Nothing”, I said. “Elijah just texted me and told me to call you…something’s up”. “Well”, I said, as I shot one of those mom looks at Elijah, “I think I might be in love”. And, suddenly, I hear my son and his wife burst into laughter. Evidently, I was on speaker phone. “Mom, we’ve known that for a long time!”. In fact all of my kids knew…it had been a topic of discussion.

My daughter-in-law reminded me of a conversation we had shared months before….a very sweet time. In that conversation, she had been reminding me that for the last 30+ years I had laid my life down continually for my children. She also wanted me to know that I had now reached a point, with three married sons and my baby almost 18, where it was time to make choices that would make me happy. At the time I thought it very sweet, but really hadn’t realized that my kids were referring to the southern gentleman.

I may be just a bit obtuse….

It turns out that another daughter-in-law had gone to another son quite some time before and talked with him about this. The conversation went something like this,

“I think your mom is in love.”   “What? My mom isn’t in love!” “She’s humming all the time!”   “My Mom hums.” “Trust me, this much humming means she’s in love. Women know these things.”

So…apparently, all of my kids knew before I did.  My Mom knew before I did. I was evidently having too much fun to stop and think about it.  As I said, it was a very long, slow fall that ended in a very soft bump….a bump that opened my eyes to my own feelings.

This southern gentleman had pursued me so gently yet so firmly, so consistently without waivering at the many hurdles I threw into his path,  and with such confidence that this was Abba’s will for our lives. I had never met a man with so much confidence. Yet, I never felt pushed because he handled everything with gentle humor. He always showed such honor and respect for me through both his words and his actions.

Although the proposals had never ceased, (oh! how I wish I had kept count!) I remembered the southern gentleman’s asking me to please let him know when I was ready for a real proposal.

I spent a few days examining my own heart and in prayer. I wanted to make sure that this was Abba’s will for me and that I had no doubts. I spoke with each of my sons, especially Elijah since this would effect him the most.  I also spoke with my mama. One of my sons said to me, “Mom, outside of our weddings and the birth of your grandchild, we have never seen you this happy!  We all want you to be happy!”

And now I had to find a way to let the Southern Gentleman know I had examined my own heart….and found him there…

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The Courtship

As we talked about how we could get to know each other on a personal level and explore how Abba might be leading us, the southern gentleman said that his preference was to continue to spend the majority of our time studying the Scriptures but to also begin to have conversations of a more personal nature to determine if we shared the same beliefs, goals, hopes and dreams. I was delighted that even though he was given the “green light” to move to a more personal relationship, this gentleman wanted to keep the Scriptures first and foremost in our lives.

I also knew that we would need to explore these things in the boundaries of courtship instead of dating.  How could I not follow the same guidelines I required of my sons? I wondered how the gentleman would feel about courtship, and those boundaries, at our ages?

When I mentioned to the gentleman that we would need to follow the Biblical courtship model, he readily agreed.  However, I knew that he most likely had no clue what that meant…and I was right. I explained to him that it meant that we would not kiss or even cuddle until after a wedding if that is where we felt Abba leading us. I explained that we would never be truly alone and that we would need to make ourselves accountable to at least one of my sons.  He got very quiet and his eyes got bigger and bigger as I talked. His response?  A very long, slow, “oookkkaaayyy…..” And I wondered if it really was.

That evening I got an email from this gentleman saying that he had been quite surprised by the idea of courtship and hadn’t really known what all that entailed. He was…*ahem*…surprised that at our ages there would be such stringent guidelines and restrictions. However, he said that the more he thought about it the more he liked the idea. He saw that by following a courtship model, we would have the opportunity to truly get to know each other in an environment that would not invite temptation. He also saw that if Abbba did not lead us to spend our lives together, it offered a tremendous amount of protection for each of our futures. He understood the guidelines, actually liked them and agreed to follow the boundaries.

I let two friends know what was going on – these were my prayer warriors! I coveted both their prayers and their counsel. Other than that, I did not share outside of my family. I did not want this to become an object of gossip nor did I want nosy questions. I also did not want to feel pressured to move one way or another. This was between Abba and myself.

Over the weeks, things continued much as they had been except that we now began to share from our personal lives.  We spent hours each day studying but we also spent hours in conversation. We began to email back and forth on days that we did not see each other and in the evenings which allowed us to ask many questions, share our histories, hopes and dreams.  Sometimes the emails went on for hours…and I knew that each morning when I awoke there would be an email waiting for me from this gentleman.

We did not go out to eat or to movies etc. preferring to spend our time in conversation or study. Elijah was always within earshot.  We spent time with all of my kids and my mom.  After all, this gentleman would have to “pass muster” with all four boys, 3 daughters and my mom.  Not an easy task.

My Mom liked him immediately and became his loudest cheerleader. My boys were wary at first. They are very protective of their mom and were watching things closely. My daughters didn’t say much at first ….but they were certainly observing things and discussing them with my sons.

The proposals continued as always….done with a great deal of humor but that constant serious underlying thread. And I laughed….a lot.  I found myself humming often.  I found myself smiling…. often. I wondered why people at the stores were being so friendly and smiling all the time and then I realized that it was because I was walking around with a silly grin on my face.  How embarrassing!

I also began to learn that this gentleman and I had led very similar lives in many ways.  We had endured many of the same heartaches. And we found joy in many of the same things…books, conversation, and nature.We also had much in common …a passion for natural health and healing, for herbs, essential oils etc.  As a Naturopathic Dr. and Master Herbalist, he had a great deal of knowledge to share. As an herbalist with decades of hands-on experience, I was able to share much of the practical learning I have experienced.

Life was good, I was happier than I had been…perhaps ever.  Each of my sons, independently and at different times, expressed that outside of their marriages and the birth of my grandson, they had never seen me this happy…and this made them very happy.

Then one night, after hours of great conversation and lots of laughter, the gentleman headed to his home and I headed upstairs. I found Elijah stretched out on my bed smiling…and he asked me a simple question….

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The Fleece

As our times of study continued, I saw the southern gentleman get closer and closer to the truth. It reminded me of the times I taught my children to read – those “light bulb” moments when they “got it”. I was occasionally asked questions by my family about the possibility of a future, but I refused to think about or even discuss it. I was on a mission and that mission was not accomplished yet.

One afternoon, after quite a few hours of study, I told this gentleman that he would one day find that his journey in studying the Scriptures would come to a fork in the road.  He would have to choose whether to remain where he was or choose to travel a new path. He agreed, looked down at the Scriptures, paused and then looked up….and I knew that the light bulb moment was about to happen…it was the look on his face.  It was priceless!

He was so excited…”I’m there!”  “Where?” I asked… “I’m at the fork now! I need to choose!”  He began to share how the culmination of what he had been learning for months had finally come together. He understood.  The truth stood before him in the Scriptures and he was running towards it!

He told me there was something he needed to do…and I wondered if this would be the answer to the fleece.  He shared what he felt like he was being led to do…it was extreme!  I asked him if he was sure he wanted to do that…he was positive.  I asked if I could be there, which puzzled him…”Don’t you believe me?”  “Yes”.  He was a man of honor and I had no doubt he would do what he said…but I wanted to see the answer to the fleece take place in person!

We scheduled it for a day or two from then.  It was very hard to keep quiet but I knew that this had to happen with out any prompting or encouragement from me.  This had to be his deal alone.

The day arrived.  It took several hours to accomplish the task.  He asked if we could pray first….and we did.  I think he was scared…he was letting go of something he had fervently believed and running full steam towards Abba and His Word. Change is always hard…even good change.  However this gentleman never waivered…he was bent on doing what he felt called to do.

When it was over, and we got back into the car I told him….

“That was the fleece.”

His answer…”What was the fleece?”

“What you just did.”

“You’re kidding!”

“I’m serious.”

“What does that mean…how do things change now?”

“It means we can spend time together outside of study…to see where Abba might lead us.”

This southern gentleman’s face lit up…he took my hand and gently kissed the back of it and then quickly apologized if he had been out of line. It was the first time we had ever touched. We talked a bit about his decision and what that meant for his future spiritually. We talked a bit about how we could spend time together in a way that would please Abba and allow us to truly get to know each other.

I think he smiled all the way back to the farm.

And now the story truly begins…..

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Farm Life….

Pardon my absence…I’ve been busy dealing with this….IMG_20150629_170254742Yep, got a call while in town….”I think your field is on fire!”  Got home and immediately called the fire department. Neighbors came from all around to help.

IMG_20150629_172239614These guys were awesome – the Mosheim Volunteer Fire Department! Thanks to them no loss to buildings or livestock.

I learned a lot of things….that our local  fire department is amazing!

That we live in a terrific valley with great neighbors who saw the smoke and came running to help.

And that if I had the choice between the two of these to fight a fire…

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I’d pick the shovel every time!

A few days later, this happened…

IMG_20150706_201911394_HDRIt’s hard to see from the picture but smoke is pouring out of the headliner along the windshield.  We smelled it before we saw the smoke. Yep, the headliner was on fire on the inside….fun…

It’s a known issue and there was a re-call for this…however when you called to have it fixed they “didn’t have the parts”.  Funny….they have them now…and I have a loaner vehicle for a week.

Then…my mama took a nasty fall. We are making some changes to help her be a little safer.

And, I am waiting on news about grandbabies!  Life is about to get very busy!

Next post I will be back to the story….it’s about to get exciting!

Blessings,

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The Word

The southern gentleman began to use the word “love”… not in a light-hearted way but very seriously.  I had to put my foot down hard! I told him in no uncertain terms that I did not love him nor did I think he knew me well enough to love me. After all, we were just studying the Scriptures together.

His response? Irritating! He told me that out of respect for my request, he wouldn’t use that word anymore but he quickly followed that with “HOWEVER, every time you hear the word like, you just know, in that pretty little head of yours, that it means love”.

Now, what was I supposed to do with that?

I definitely enjoyed this gentleman’s sense of humor, deep respect and thoughtfulness. However, there was still a serious theological issue.  He was grasping bits and pieces of the truth but having a hard time letting go of some teachings that he had been exposed to that were definitely not scriptural. I began praying and asking Abba to help me show him the truth in a fashion he could grasp and hang onto.

I asked Abba for a fleece for direction on what to do with this man who would not go away. My kids all liked him. My mom liked him. I just could not go there. I didn’t think about him. I didn’t daydream about “what if” or the future.  This was purely a mission on my part to help lead this man to truth.

I felt like Abba gave me an answer. I was to keep things as they were until one particular thing happened. Once that happened, it would show me that he had finally set the incorrect teachings aside and was grasping truth so deeply that he would be unwilling to ever look back!

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The Beginning

From my last post…

And I was praying…asking Abba what in the world I was supposed to do with a man who would not take no for an answer. I felt as if we had established a friendship and shared many similar interests however there were enough differences that I knew we were not compatible. The question was…how do I convince the gentleman?

And then it began…..

The proposals…dozens of them…hundreds of them.  They were worked into every text, email or conversation…often multiple times a day. They were always done gently and with great humor.  I never felt pressed or pressured. However, I clearly understood that his hopes had not changed…nor were they likely to change.

He very clearly expressed his belief that our Father had caused our paths  to cross for the purpose of marriage and that he was willing to wait. I also believed our Father caused our paths to cross…but certainly not for the same reason.  I knew it was to help this gentleman find Truth.

And, he was finding truth! He was diligently studying the Scriptures and as he began to understand certain concepts he would immediately apply those concepts to his life and make the necessary changes so that his beliefs and actions lined up with the Word. It was exciting to see someone seeking after the Father so completely.

Our studies continued over the weeks.  I saw this as a friendship based on bible study and that is all.  I had no feelings for this man nor interest in a future with him and I made that very clear. I did not want to mislead him in anyway. I managed to laugh through the proposals (as did he) but I definitely understood that there was a very serious under current running through each one.

For accountability purposes, I let all my sons know what this man’s intentions were.  I also told them not to worry…nothing would come of this. I asked one son to drop by during one of our study sessions. I felt like he needed to check this man out and I wanted this man to know that I had 4 gun-toting very protective sons who loved their mama. I thought it might put a damper on the proposals. Although the southern gentleman seemed a bit nervous, it certainly did not slow down his proposals at all.

I also shared what was going on with my mama…who surprisingly had great empathy for this gentleman. She became his cheerleader. I explained to her that there were differences that I could not accept. She seemed to understand

And then the gentleman did something…and I had to put my foot down…hard!

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Believe it or not….

Believe it or not…I did not hit anything!  Nor did anyone hit me, drop garbage or diapers or any of the other great suggestions.

So, what happened?  The tire blew out.  A new tire on a fairly new Jeep. A Michelin tire! The Jeep only has about 30,000 miles on it. However, when it blew, it separated the tread which beat the front of the car to death.  $4,000 worth of damage from a blown tire!

The explosion was so loud that the car behind me pulled over because he though it was his tire. I thought someone had shot the tire.

I could put my whole hand right through the tire.

Neither of the sheriffs who came to my aid could believe it.  The wrecker service couldn’t believe it.  Even the body shop was shocked.

So Mr. Michelin….how do you explain that?  Or perhaps I need to ask the dealer…

I’m just praising my Abba for His protection!  No one was hurt. I managed to get the Jeep safely off of the road and insurance is covering it.

Amanda, you used the word tire in your answer…you were the closest!  Email me and let me know which bar of soap you’d like!

Next post, we’ll get back to the story!

Blessings,

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Pardon my absence….FREE SOAP!

Pardon my absence while I have been dealing with this…

IMG_20150602_160131131_HDRIMG_20150602_154046883_HDR

You just won’t believe how this happened!  Care to venture a guess?

A free bar of soap to the first person who gets it right!

Back to the story shortly….

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