Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sufficient Grace

Spring is one of the busiest times of the year on a farm.
There's planting, spraying, chopping and baling,
in addition to the myriad of daily chores that need to be done. 
 It's not uncommon for my farmer husband to be out in the fields well past dark {and my bedtime}
during these months.
Every year, I gear myself up for the flurry of activity.
I give myself pep talks.
I make him food.
I nag remind him to drink water...LOTS of it!
And I freak out about all the sleep he's losing.
But, in spite of all my efforts, I'll be honest: it's far from easy, and sometimes it sucks!

A few weeks ago, smack-dab in the middle of it all,
I read a verse that I've loved for years.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness."
The last part of this verse isn't one I know as well, but the words just jumped out at me!
"Most gladly I will rather glory in my sufferings that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
I want the power of Christ to rest upon me,
but I can't say I would choose for it to come through suffering!
Anyway, I sorta forgot about this revelation and life continued on.
More late nights and long days passed,
and I felt like I just couldn't do it anymore!
I mean, I'm the girl who said she would never marry a farmer...
I'm not cut out for this!!!

As I was talking to a friend about what I was feeling,
she mentioned the very verse I just mentioned!!!
Second time that week someone discussed it, never knowing they were God's messenger to me.
This time, I realized the truth: I can't do it in my own strength.
But His grace is sufficient.
I am weak.
But His strength is perfect in my weakness.
So I'm leaning on Him in this season!
Tonight my farmer husband is out working late, but I feel at peace.
I'm given His grace.
And it's sufficient!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Of Books & Babies

:: Books ::

I love to read! It's always been one of my favorite ways to unwind. Give me a beach chair, some palm trees and a book, and I'm a happy woman. {It doesn't hurt to have the beach thrown in, too!} When I heard of a book reviewing program hosted by Bethany House Publishers, I decided to give it a try! You can sign up for different types of reading, and then will receive periodic emails giving you the option of several books to choose from.

Here's the best part: the book is free! The only stipulation is that you post an honest review - good or bad - on Amazon and your blog, which you forward to them.  What's not to love about this?!

The first set of books I was given to choose from were Christian fiction, and I chose a book called "The Messenger" by Siri Mitchell. I'd never heard of her before, so it was a shot in the dark for me. Let me tell you, I am a fan! She wrote in the first-person, which I typically don't enjoy, so I wasn't sure if I'd like the story. But it wasn't long until I was riveted! The main character, Hannah becomes embroiled in a dangerous mission as a spy, in an attempt to help her imprisoned brother. She is forced to work with a cynical spy, Jeremiah, who infuriates her at every turn. To complicate matters, she is part of the Quaker religion, who directly opposed any connection to the war. Jeremiah's candid honesty forces her to look at her motives and her faith, and in the end, his strength is what compels her to the impossible.

If you want to find out more, you'll have to read the book! Finding out how a book ends before I've had a chance to read it is one of my pet peeves. And, if you want to become a book reviewer, you can sign up here. My next copy, The Traveler's Rest, is on its way to my mailbox and I'm anxious to see if I like it as well as I did this one!

:: Babies ::

Just this past week, our dear friends Blake & Amy welcomed a baby girl, Amiah, into their home! Is there anything quite as precious as a new baby?! Especially a sweet little girl with dark hair and dimples? I think not.

It was so fun to watch Hadassah's reaction! She was in love. [As we all were] It's amusing to watch babies interact with other babies! It's like they're seeing the coolest thing imaginable, and have no clue they're one themselves!

It will be fun to see what the future holds for these two girls. Should be interesting, given they are both Showalters!!! Ahem. I'm thinking about slumber parties, baking cookies, dress-up....oh, and tractors. Cuz my husband will definitely be teaching her that skill before long!

Has it only been 9 months since we held our baby for the first time?! I'm getting teary just thinking about how fast she is growing! Next to Amiah, she looks oh so big. sigh. Just another reminder to live in the moment, and enjoy every stage!

Take time to prop up your feet and read a good book; and don't forget to cuddle your littles!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

World-view Wednesday: She has a name

I first heard of She has a name a few months ago through some friends of mine.
They have an incredible heart for victims of human trafficking, and raise funds to combat its evil.
Because of this ministry, Run for Her 2012 was born.
And I got to participate in my first 5k ever!

My sweet friends, Sadie & Amy {and Kim, who was already in PA!} gave the baby & I a ride to Juniata County, where the race was held.
What a great time we had, hashing all sorts of issues....
you ladies inspire me!!!

My brother and his wife live nearby, so not only did I get to spend some time with them and their two boys, but Rachel & I got to run our first 5k together!
We almost persuaded my brother to keep Hadassah since he was babysitting his boys,
but I'm glad we didn't.
She had so much fun watching all the runners!!

I jogged the 3.1 miles with my stroller. Thank goodness, it was a flat run!
I wasn't quite as in shape as I thought I'd be, but I did manage to keep from walking til the very end. Victory!!!

Seriously, it was so special to have my daughter join me [even if she didn't have a choice! ha]
There were several moms with strollers that came out.
It's a perfect way to exercise 
AND support a great cause!

I hope this is the start of many more 5k events I participate in, 
and maybe even a 10k someday.
Who knows?!

* * *

Please, please pray for this ministry and the lives of the women they touch!
Let's be the body of Christ
and bring His light into the darkest places.

Blessings to you, my friends! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My first Mother's Day

It was an absolutely memorable weekend for me, let me tell ya! It was my first Mother's Day!!!
 And in my mind, that makes it especially significant.
Firsts have always been a big deal to me: 
First car; first boyfriend; first only husband!; first anniversary; first baby, etc. 
You get the picture. 
So, as I thought about my first Mommy's day, I thought it would be perfect to have matching dresses with my sweet daughter!

Here's where my mom and MIL come in the picture.
I haven't sewn in a longgg time and have only basic skills. [if sewing cape dresses counts as a basic skill]
And patterns are Greek to me.
Thank God for Mothers!!
My dear mom whipped up Hadassah's dress,
and Eddie's mom cut out my dress and did a little sewing on it too.
They made my dream a reality!

It was a lot more work than I recalled!
It seemed like every spare minute I needed to get back to the sewing machine.
And I only did part of the work!!! Whew. So glad it's finished. 
There is a wonderful satisfaction, though, that comes from making something with your own hands!

The significance of the day hit me full force.
I am a mother.
I've always looked at other people and thought they possessed some special presence or ability to earn that term. And now I am one, and it so doesn't feel that way!
It just happens. 
And I have to say, it's the best thing that could have happened! [besides falling in love with my man]

And I got these.
Just because he loved me!
[and because I reminded him that Mother's Day is coming and it would be nice to get something! ha]
These symbolize true love and sacrifice to me, because he drove to Walmart at 11:00 Sat night to get them, before working another 3 hours to finish planting his corn!!
And here I was, thinking that nothing special would happen 
because those crops usually come first. 
Seriously, I melt every time I look at them!

There was a card with the flowers
and a "note" from Hadassah!
He took her little hand in his, and helped her write me a sweet little thank-you.
[Mom was watching and said it was the cutest thing!]
All I can say is: I love my family,
and I'm so thankful I've been given this gift:
the gift of motherhood.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Housecleaning 101

I was raised right. My momma taught me to houseclean. But some days, I wish she hadn't! Especially since I get this nagging feeling every spring that I haven't fulfilled my God-given duty as a wife until I scour every nook and cranny! Ha, mom.

Actually, my version of housecleaning is probably slightly different from every other wife's, but it works for me! With an active 8 month-old baby girl demanding my attention, I'm finding that I have to do things a bit differently than I have before. I used to be able to start cleaning a room...and finish it a few hours later. It was nice. Now, I start a room...and finish it a few days later. Seriously, that's so frustrating when you're a task-oriented person, but I'm learning it is okay. And, I'm happy to report that I've completed several rooms already! It's truly amazing how much you can accomplish when you break it down into small segments, and do a little each day. Or better yet, do it all in a week!

Here are the steps I take to houseclean a room:

1. Wipe down ceilings and walls with this handy-dandy duster/mop. I love that the handle can extend, especially since I'm a whopping 5' tall!

2. Wipe down all surfaces, starting with tops of cupboards and shelves. {Yes, I wrote in the dust on this shelf! For shame.} Its disturbing how quickly dirt accumulates! I feel justified in my endeavors just to get rid of this junk.

3. Clean out cupboards, wipe them and reorganize. I decided I didn't have any use for the stack of old dishrags that were piled in this cupboard, so I tossed them! I have been going through the house, and collecting things for the yardsale I hope to have as well.

4. Put your tired baby to bed. She really was a great sport while I did my job!

5. Pick some flowers and put them in a vase. Not only will your room look clean, but it will smell wonderful too!

6. Find some strawberries and cake and put them in a bowl. Prop up your feet and smile because you did your momma proud!!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cupcake Craze

There are cupcakes.
And then, there are cupcakes...
 ...the kind that burst with flavor and creamy goodness! 
The kind that The Cupcake Company makes. 

My friend, who is crazy about them, 
introduced me to this home-based business in McGaheysville. 
Similar to the old-fashioned ice cream trucks, 
they frequently park a "cupcake truck" at various places, 
where I made my first purchase.
I am officially addicted!
On the left is banana cream and the right is berry lemonade.

Nutty buddy and orange dreamsicle are pictured above.
Sometimes looks are deceiving [ie: McDonald's commercials]
but these, my friends, taste better than they look!!!
Hey, if you don't believe me...
try them yourself!

Chocolate with peanut butter icing??
Help me!!!
It's good I ate half before sharing it with my husband,
or I wouldn't have gotten a chance to even try it!

Here's a picture my friend sent me:
an order she placed for a dozen of 4 different flavors. 
I want one of each, please!!
If you go here to their website, you can find a phone number to place your order.
Or stop by Home Depot next Saturday and visit the Cupcake Truck.
I promise you, 
you won't be disappointed!!

Enjoy a moment of sweetness this weekend, my friends!