Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We each live our own lives.. though we may share them with others, they are but our own.

I have always said you can tell a lot about a person by their hands.  When you look at a person's hands you can normally tell how their day is spent.  You can tell if they clean house all day, you can tell if they change motor oil for a living, with the sign of a callus you can see them swinging a hammer daily, you can tell if they have a habit of biting their nails, you can tell if they have extra time in their lives to maintain themselves, you can see how cushioned or how hard their life is.
When you look at a person's hands you can see the gentleness as they hold their children, you may be able to tell that they are folded together daily for prayer, or you may sometime see uneasiness.  Whatever it is.. it's a story, you may see a scar from long ago that will remain forever.  Every person has a story, has thoughts, has a history, has feelings, has happiness and struggles.
Where is this blog entry stemming from?  For the past month I have had to step back and look at my hands, so to say.. I've looked over my life, and read the story of my life one page at a time.  I have had so many blessing in my life and yet so many struggles.  I have been handed things (though too stubborn to accept) and have been made to fight for other things in my life.
 When looking at my hands I see memories of the road I've traveled through my life, I see people I've cared for with my hands.  I can see scars of my sweet childhood and think back to my brothers and the connection that only we shared.  My hands have held my head as I cried from a broken heart, and directly after they wiped the tears from my eyes.  My hand raises as I meet a passing car as I travel down the road.  My hands have cradled my children in the wee hours of the night, and stroked every single hair on their head as they've slept in my arms.  My hands have gripped the handle bars of my childhood bike as I made my way down the long dirt road of freedom to my friend's house... and they are also the hands that steered my way home.  My hands hold a wedding band that is a circle, an endless circle built by God, trust, love and passion.  As I looked to the band that incircles my finger I realize that though I can physically take the band off, I have an indention in my finger.  This indention was not present the first year in our marriage.  This indention may not have been there the third year of our marriage, but after eight years it is ingrained deep.  As these hands wipe a tear, I also wonder if it took eight year to earn this indention how has it gone unnoticed for all this time?  As I look to my hands I see all the days spent working the ground for our garden only to burn my hands with canning jars as I put up the crop.  My hands have clasped in prayer countless times.  My hands show that I have two children and am not consumed with the latest color of polish.  During certain months of the year you can take one glance and know that I'm not like others my age.. you will see my hands stained purple with scratches around the edges, telling you that I spent the day picking blackberries and making Jelly.  My hands have been raised for a Star Trek High Five at least 100 times (inside joke for Casey).  You may see ink covering the palm of my hand, with countless reminders of what to do.   My hands have been the tool I've used to explore this world & reach out to others along the way.
I'm not really sure why I've blogged about this tonight.. could be that it's 2am and I can't sleep or could be because I feel we should all take a look at our lives.  Look to see where we come from and where we are going... to see if the path you plan to take in life is a path that leads to happiness and love for yourself and others around you?  To look and understand that each person you come to has a story to them... and to be proud of your story.
As I lay down to sleep tonight I know that these hands will always be open to those who I love and will welcome the wear and tear that comes through the years, as I am living and using the tools I have to get to where I need to be in life.  Make sure you are doing the same.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's the little things that make me tick...

like tonight, as we were returning from the home of a sweet friend, who is more like family... Lyla says "Momma, look at those cute little stars twinkling at me!" as she hopped out of the truck.  That simple little sentence made my tired self smile from ear to ear.  I love that my little girl really believes the stars are up there twinkling just for her.  We stopped and stared at the stars for a few minutes and wouldn't trade those quiet seconds for anything on earth.  As we were walking to the house, I looked at her and she looked so content and happy.  I couldn't help but wonder what she was thinking about.. and wishing I could have the same thoughts, if only for a minute.

I will also add a little note of how blessed I am to be surrounded by wonderful people in my life.  I have friends who will listen to me for hours if I need and return my words with nothing but a hug if that is what I need.  I have friends who will spend 4 hours changing my brake pads and listening to my children scream with laughter during the whole process & then ask for nothing but a thank you in return.  I have friends who are beside me no matter what decisions I make in life.  I have friends who love me for me.  I have friends who drive by my house the morning after a storm just to make sure I'm okay!   Who are these amazing people you ask???  I call them FAMILY.    Casey, Jennifer, Cindy, Phillip and many others ~ I love you guys... all your greatness is forever locked in my heart.  :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Our Lyla at 3 years old is her own person!  One Saturday night I thought I'd get crafty and make Lyla's dress or Sunday... After 2.5 hours of sewing and getting it just right, I was satisfied.  Sunday morning rolls around and Lyla just wasn't having it!  She did wear the dress to Church but against her will and covered in a long pea coat... what a little stinker she is!  Rob told me after making the dress to hang it in her closet & just act like it was no big deal when I brought her clothes out for church, otherwise she wouldn't wear it.  Well I didn't listen, I started telling her about Mommy working hard on her dress and how I added a little lace apron on it for her.  Then came the look!!!  I knew then that she was just going to say 'no' simply so she'd be the one making the decision.  Why this story!??!  Just wanted to mark my word that one day Lyla will cling to the tiny little hand made dresses, as if they were plated in gold.  So, this is to you Lyla:  Momma will keep making you dresses and forcing you to wear them and when the day comes that you are grown and have a daughter of your own.. I want you to give me a hug & say thanks! :0)   I love you girly.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My heart is happy.

Tonight as I crawled in bed I thought about the rain that was coming in the morning and then thought about the bunnies and how they needed their bunny box inside their cage to shield the wind and rain.  So, I stumbled back out of bed & threw on some mud boots to set up the cozy little box for them.

On my walk in the dark to the bunny yard I thought about the sweet brown bunny that we had lost the day before.  Coco had some how snuck through the fence and was gone!  My heart was broken as were my children's.  Coco was a mini Charcoal (momma Bunny), she was the exact colors of her and was wild with adventure.  Coco was Lyla little bunny and I was beyond sad that she was gone.

As I set the box up inside their cage I tried to angle my flashlight so I could see Midnight (tate's baby bunny) and make sure he wouldn't get smooshed by the box.  As I shown the light on him I noticed a noise outside of the cage.. with the move of the flashlight I saw Coco!  I tried so hard to catch her, but she kept hoping from my grip... I lost her in the dark & she wasn't to be found inside the fenced area.  As I prayed for God to bring her back and I shown my flashlight all over the ground outside the fence I saw Banana Peel (Daddy Bunny), who lives in the hen yard fencing.. he had a little extra fur underneath and I realized it was Coco!  Banana Peel continued to love on Coco and snuggle with her as I watched on with tears in my eyes.  What you must understand, is that the male father will most times eat the baby bunnies or act aggressively with them... so much that you must remove them directly after birth from the same inclosure as the babies.  As Banana Peel loved on Coco I realized that the whole time that Coco was gone, Banana Peel had been caring for her.  We spent hours out by the hen yard today and not once did I see Coco.  I'm not sure where Banana Peel had her hid, but he did a great job keeping our lil one safe.  I was so proud to see Coco hop back through the fence to be with Momma Bunny.. she set right to nursing and is happily at home with baby Midnight and Charcoal.  My night is complete & I can now journey off to bed with a happy heart. I can't wait to tell my children when they wake that Coco found her way back to Charcoal and is safe and sound.

With two dogs who watch the bunny yard like hawks, this is a miracle in itself... so blessed to have witnessed such a sweet thing on The Engle Farm.

Here are a couple of videos of our sweet little Coco.

This video is before we moved the bunnies outside.  This is where my children spent most of their evenings :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Our 3 acre patch of heaven holds more love than a city filled full of millions of people.

What we know as home is the best place we could be.  I feel so blessed to have such a fine place to raise my children.  Everything we've started here at our home was started with love.  What is being instilled in my children is better than any text book could teach.. we are teaching them to love.  We are teaching them that with love comes hard, selfless devotion to ourselves, each other, our land and animals.  It is days like today that we reap the rewards of our small farm.  
After eye balling our baby bunnies for the past week, I decided we'd hold them for the first time.  They are crawling around well & are covered in sweet, soft fur. The moment the kids held the bunnies my heart melted.  Lyla looked up at me in amazement... she looked at me and smiled such a content and happy smile as she held the lil creature that she will later feed, water and love.  

As Tate held the black baby bunny he looked up at me and asked why it was quivering a little bit, he was so concerned.  With this question and his expression I realized that the small things I'm doing to take a step back into the older days is working.  With Video games there isn't concern, love, communication, etc. But with our farm animals my children learn these things.  They also learn that with love comes a hurt, for if we didn't love these little creatures it wouldn't hurt so badly when we loose them.  After loosing our first set of bunnies, my children (and myself) were hurt.  We did everything we knew to do to keep them alive.  What we all learned from that was to let Momma bunny do what God set her here to do.  And look now, we have two healthy little bunnies!

I could go on and on about the things we learn and enjoy here on our lil' patch of land.. but I could never put it all into words.  So, when you hear of something strange I've done... like adopting a baby lamb, putting a diaper on it & sleeping on my couch with it ~ try to step outside of the box and look at the big picture.  After all, how many children get to bottle feed a sweet 3 day old baby lamb, or hold a two week old bunny in their tiny hands?  Mine do... and that's what matters to me.

And might as well throw this in there while I'm at it ~ Yes, I walk barefoot in my garden, and yes my feet are normally stained the color of clay during the summer months.. but gosh it feels so nice to feel the Georgia Clay between my toes ;)  So don't hate.. pull your shoes off and live a little! 

Have a nice night to all of you who follow my blog, make sure to live without worries..  live as if it didn't matter what people thought.. and then (only then) will you truly be living :)

OKAY ~ Forget the blog challenge.. I failed!

I can't possibly blog every single day of my life with a photo included.. so I'm going to update as I can & try to record our life and live it too :)

And to start all that off, while cleaning out our JUNK Cabinet that holds school work, taxes, etc. I found an old envelope that had scribbling on it ~ in that scribbling was words I jotted down that Lyla said to me about 8 months ago.  So that I never ever forget her innocence, here they are :)

LYLA:  Momma, did you know that Lady Bugs Cry?
ME: Nope, I didn't know that.
LYLA:  Yes, if they are outside they sometimes cry.
LYLA:  Well maybe they don't have a mouth to cry with!??!?!
ME:  Well then how do they eat?
LYLA:  I guess with their eyes!

 This is a convo we had about the horse that had died named Bella.

LYLA:  Mom, how did Bella go to Heaven?
ME: Well she was sick, very sick and just couldn't make it through.
LYLA:  Did God give her pink wings??

Just love that lil girl, so curious and sweet.  

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Can you pick out the child who's mother is a photographer?!??!

In above photo, please look at the boy in Orange ~ front center.. behind his head you will see my son hiding! 

In above photo, please look at the boy in Orange again.. next to him you will see my son hiding AGAIN.. so this just tells us all, why I don't even attempt to photograph Tate any longer ;) These images were sent to me from Tate's teacher.. there was one more & he was completely hiding though I can't find the picture at this time.  I'll make sure to add it soon ;) Lil Turkey better stop hiding that cute lil face.. did make me laugh though ;)

Monday, February 28, 2011

55/365 Canning Brownies/cakes ~ easy peasy, cotton-sneezy!

Yes, I said canning sweets!  So, guess what that means.. brownies at your fingertips all year long!  The canned sweetness lasts for up to 3 years!  We weren't able to let them sit for longer than a week, but they were just as good a week later, as the day we baked them :) 

So, here's the steps:

For the sake of easiness, I'll use directions for a boxed brownie mix.. you can use homemade recipes for pound cake, choc. cake, brownies, carrot cake, etc.

 Preheat your oven to 350 ~ Mix your Brownies as directed on box (or recipe).  Spray WIDE MOUTH Mason Jars with non-stick spray or oil & lightly flour. (must use midemouth jars so you can remove brownie or cake once baked)  Pour mixture 3/4 way full in mason jar.  Put filled mason jars on baking dish.. wipe all rims of jar.  Bake as directed (make sure to check smaller jars often, as they will bake faster).  Once the brownies are almost done, warm your Mason jar lids on stove top.. do not boil lids.  Remove jars from oven and wipe rim of jar.  Place lid on jar, then place ring on jar (finger tight..don't over tighten).  Flip mason jar upside down so heat falls to lid.  Leave untouched until jar is completely cooled.  This will seal your lids and presto ~ you have canned your first treats!  

We use small Jelly Jars as they make great two person snacks.
With Brownies you can cut the roll into slices and pack in child's lunch ~ fresh brownies all week :)
If cake or brownies rise above mason jar, try to push it down a bit before applying lid.. or you can cut the tops off with knife. 
With Pound Cake, make your icing and drizzle on tops before sealing.. with spoon, move edges so that the icing can flow to bottom also :) 
With Brownies, under cook just a bit for a moist gooey brownie :)


54/365 Mary, our little lamb.

Please meet Mary.  She's the lasted addition to the Engle House.  We plan to bottle feed her and keep her inside for 3 weeks until she is old enough to stay outside... what fun this will be!  So, I've been told bottle feeding a newborn lamb is like raising a newborn baby!  I hope I'm cut out for the work again, I guess this time I'll have a lil helper named Lyla so it won't be too bad. :)

53/365 Tuesday *The baby lamb was born today!!

We got the great news of a lamb needing a home due to mother rejecting it.. sad that Momma didn't take care of the baby, but great news for us!  We've been praying that one would come along to welcome in to our home & it has!  We'll go see her soon :)

52/365 Monday

worked on the new design for our Nichol Engle Photography shirts.. I'm in love with them!  Can't wait to get them ordered :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

51/365 My favorite day of the week.. SUNDAY!

 Sunday, you are my favorite day of the week.  It's the one day we are able to actually slow down and enjoy our lives we've made together.  Sunday is the day we spend our mornings thanking the Lord for all we've been given and our afternoons living the life He's blessed us with.  

Lyla and I attended church without the boys this morning, as they were making the long drive home from hunting.  Directly after returning home, Lyla had to have play time with the animals.  She was set out to catch Banana Peel (the grey bunny).  The plan didn't work out so well as you can see below ;) 

Casey came home with us from church to catch up on school work, while Nolan worked in the woodshed.  Lyla and I spent the next couple of hours out in the hen yard playing with the animals and mending the wire.  Then it was time for our boys to get home.. I yelled for Casey to grab the camera and I ran for Rob's surprise!  And boy was he excited!  Rob has been playing around on Nolan's Banjo for the last few weeks and has been dreaming of owning one.  Well being the good wife that I am, I found one for sale while he was gone :) 

Tate was so excited to show me his nasty stinky rabbit foot.. he said "Hey Mom, close your eyes & hold out your hand!"  I knew what was coming but did it anyway ;) 
And in this next photo he is showing me the blood on the blade ;) it was the first time he was able to use his skinning knife!
Lyla did well, she didn't have any hard feelings towards the boys killing a bunny... they planned to cook it for dinner ~yuck!
And seeing as rabbit was for dinner, Casey and I decided we'd hit the dirt roads and find out what was living in that crazy nest we found!  We were equipped with a chair to stand on and a flash light this time ;) 
We still weren't able to tell what it was?!?!

All in all this was a great Sunday at the Engle's house.. family time, The Good Lord, dirt road riding, sweet tea.. I think today was perfect!

50/365 weekend full of fun!

Tate and Rob are really have fun on their hunting trip!   They we able to get a rabbit this morning and Tate was beyond excited to pull out his new skinning knife that he has yet to use.  :)

Rob said he has ate a full pack of little debbie brownies and every other piece of junk food you could think of!  He's loving the weekend of Manly supervision :)

While the boys are gone.. Casey, Lyla and I set to work and covered ourselves in dirt from head to toe and the spots that weren't dirty with dirt were covered in concrete dust!  But we got 4 posts set in concrete for the new bunny/injured chicken run. :) We also set the last post for the clothesline, so within days I'll have my laundry flapping in the wind again!  We were outside from morning until dark.. once I did walk into the house I was barely able to get in the bath, as I was soooo beyond sleepy!  I was in the bed and out like a light by 8:30, love days like today.. I get so much done & sleep like a rock!

49/365 PLOWED!

Oh what a sight.. I was outside working in the yard and talking to Nolan and Casey when our neighbor John rode over to tell me that Mr. L was on his way to plow our garden... I did a happy dance & ran straight upstairs to grab my camera & to tell Rob and the kids to come down!  I was like a kid at Christmas!  Thanks Mr. L for plowing her up... the sweet smell of freshly turned dirt is one of my favorites!  I don't know how I'll ever get all the grass out of this garden spot (as we tripled it's size) but I'm gonna have fun getting dirty and trying!  Bring on the SPRING!

Once the plowing was done Rob and Tate set out for their hunting trip to South Ga.  Tate was beyond excited!  Casey and I set straight to work on unfinished projects we wanted to complete while the boys were gone.  FUN FUN!

48/2011 Another year around the sun.

Happy Birthday, Momma!  2.17.11

Today we spent the day cleaning out the hen house & ramblin' around the yard working on the clothes line set up, etc. 

Once we finished the yard work, we picked Tater up from school and went to Jennifer's house to swap out some chickens :)  We took a rooster to her & ended up snagging a rooster and two hens for Momma's birthday ;) Yes, you might be a redneck if you give chickens as a gift..  but then again, you don't know my momma!  She LOVED them!  Casey and I ran the chickens to her house and planned to drop them there for her to find after she returned from work.  We tied balloons to the gate & placed flowers there too.  Well we got caught.. she drove up as we were getting everything set up, and she was thrilled :) Wish I could've gotten a picture of her beautiful chickens but we were moving fast in order to get them to her house before night fall aka roosting time ;)  So, Happy Birthday to my Mom.. next year we'll buy you a pig!  lol

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

47/365 Freshness!

Oh my, what a little angel... Abigail Henson came to meet me today & have her first set of photos taken.  Just look at this face :)

 She's so perfect I almost caught the Baby Fever.. but then I glanced over at my sweet daughter and realized that I have everything I could ever want.  I have two healthy children and have been blessed beyond measure!  Thanks Kellie, for bringing your sweet lil one over for me to hold and love and return ;) I had fun with you guys!

46/365 SPRING is coming.... dirt road riding is gearing up!

Once Rob returned from work it was time to pick up Trigger from the Vet's office.. Casey and I got the flicker in our eyes and knew we would have to take the long road around ;)  We started 7 miles from town at my house and it took us over 1 hour to reach town.. we had to take a lil peek at our dusty dirt road!  As we were driving I spotted an old house we had yet to explore.. we ditched the truck directly and went to searching for any and everything cool :) 

 And then came the shed.... Above image is me, trying to figure out what kinda creature lived in this shed & hoping it wasn't about to jump out at me!  Here is the animal's nest.... 
 When we noticed a hole in the nest.. we had to see in it!  After countless cheerleading stunts.. we both had a wee lil peek ~ just enough to tease us.  We started looking around for something to stand on, when Casey noticed the toilet.  She said "hey we could stand on that toilet!"  I laughed and ask her if she knew how heavy toilets are??!?!  She replied "Well heck, it's only half a toilet!"  Hee hee.. I love the way she thinks :)  
 We didn't end up moving the half toilet to stand on.. we resorted back to cheerleading talent (Please note, Casey was not ever, ever, ever a cheerleader!)  lol  but we figured out a way to get her up there.. 
I can't wait for another summer of dirt road riding, exploring, drinking Super Sweet Tea & living this life up!  Stay warm, weather.. I'm loving you!


45/365 Happy Valentine's Day!

I wish everyday was Valentine's Day.. maybe I need to add this to my "change" list.  I have a large list started which keeps getting longer! So consider it done, I'm gonna act as if it is Valentine's day everyday!  After all, that is what we were made to do.. love and be loved.  I plan to take an extra effort to show those who I love that I love them without end!  I'll add sweet little notes around the house for my honey to find.. I'll make heart shaped pancakes for my children & squeeze their cheeks till they are filled with every ounce of my lovin'.  

So, though I enjoyed 'Valentine's Day' this year, as I do every year.. I'm not one who is crazy about setting a date to show our love for one another, I think we should let it shine all year through.  

For Valentine's Day 2011 Lyla and I journeyed to Tate's Classroom for a sweet little party.  We enjoyed watching Tate hand out his Valentine cards and receive cards/candy from his friends.  I will tell the truth, my favorite part of the party was the chocolate fountain.. I could've covered a million and one strawberries in chocolate and eaten every one of them ~ YUMMMMY!  

Tate is such a little sweetie.. he truly loved each and every card he received today!  As we were riding home, he was asked to share a girly card with his sister.. he started to hand one over and thought about it with a reply of "but Mom, I know there are some girly ones, but someone thought they'd give it to me as a gift and I want to keep it".  Though he didn't share with his sister, he did show that he knows the meaning behind a gift... it's not about what the gift is, it's the thought behind it that counts :) 

And lets not forget my hubby.. he walked through the doors with a beautiful arrangement of flowers for his lil ole' wife.  And I greeted him with a loving hug and super sweet card :) I love you babe ~ Happy Valentine's day!

Thanks for today, my sweet little family :)

1 John 4:16 

16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
   God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

44/365 Oh sweet Sunday..


We started my favorite day of the week out by heading to church.  We truly enjoyed the service today, such a touching message.  After Service we enjoyed chatting with some new friends, then home for lunch.  With such pretty skies we knew we had to be outdoors.. just what, oh what to do?!?!  With the craving for my clothesline during the weather, I voted to fix my clothesline :)  So to digging we went!  Tater bug played with his friend, Susie as we worked ;)   Simple day at The Engle house, but a great one at that!

 Lyla girl, you don't look 3 years old in this image.. you are giving me a fast forward button with this one.  Please stop, sweet girl.. I want you to stay my baby girl for a bit longer!
  Trigger is loving the sunshine too :) 

42&43/365 WHOOOP WHOOOP ~ Kid free weekend with my honey pie :)

Oh what fun Rob and I had.. pickin' and grinnin'.  We are both trying to learn a lil bluegrass so after our relaxing dinner at Annie's in Jasper we came home to sit together and do some BlueGrass 101.   Rob is doing great on the banjo & I am doing horrible on the fiddle ;)  I do have to say that I picked the banjo up for a few minutes and LOVED it & was able to actually make something sound half way decent with it's strings :)  The fiddle is my task at hand though & I am going to strive toward mastering it!  

If you've been following my blog you will know that I said "I'd rather spend a day in the woods with my hubby than sitting at a fine restaurant.. so when I was asked how I wanted to spend our Saturday together.. I grabbed my gloves & in return he grabbed his chain saw :)   We spent most of the day in the woods with the sun peeking through the trees to shine on us as we collected fire wood.  We'd stop from time to time to sit on a stump and talk.. just simple moments, but moments I love!  Around lunch I ran out to pick up some new chickens, yes we now have 4 new chickens!  

oh, and remember the boots I wanted ;) well I may have talked Rob into a quick trip to tractor supply to claim them ~ tee hee hee.

02.11.11 - 02.12.11