That dreaded subject! If you are wealthy, maybe this isn’t a problem, I don’t know. But for most folks, we have to learn how to deal with money as a couple. In fact, I have heard that finances are one of the top causes of divorce. Not the lack, as one might think, but the handling of it.
Often, there is a saver and a spender in the marriage. We are wired differently, so it’s no use going on about which is best. I personally don’t think it matters – what matters is how you work together.
Use your strengths.
My man doesn’t enjoy budgeting, paying pills, figuring out how to deal with all that stuff. But I do, sort of! Now, it’s not my favorite thing in the world, mind you, but I can do it. Plus, I have more time to deal with it since I am at home. So I do the paperwork and watch the budget, and he brings home the bacon!
This works pretty good for us. I’m not perfect at it – I have forgotten to pay bills, yikes! But it is what works for us. You may be the opposite. It doesn’t matter who takes care of bills and budget, but someone should! Work together to figure out where your strengths are.
Don’t spend more than you should.
I hear wives doing this all the time; buying things they can’t afford. Please stop this! It is just wrong. You are supposed to be a team, pulling together. It shows a dreadful lack of care and humility, when you constantly overspend! He works hard to provide for you, the least you can do is stay in your budget. Maybe you work and earn your own money. That’s fine, as long as you aren’t running up bills for him to pay, or not paying your share of the bills!
Don’t buy if you have to use credit. Do you really need that new outfit or gadget? Be content with the things you have, Jesus says.
Don’t whine about what you can’t afford. He knows when times are hard, it just makes him feel bad for not being able to give you that new car or house. Be thankful.
DO try to lower bills when possible. Shop sales. Buy off the clearance rack. Just don’t buy as much. Give simple gifts. Try to save some money each pay period.
DO be thankful and grateful for what he provides. Tell him. Be cheerful.When the calves don’t bring much, trust God and keep a sparkle in your eyes. Remind him that God will provide, and you can figure this out – together!
DO pray to God to provide your needs. Don’t complain to your girlfriends, don’t complain to anyone. Just take your needs to God.
To summarize: Trust God to provide, work together on your budget, be thankful for what he provides, live within your means. Honor God in this area, and He will honor you.
Today’s Challenge: Thank your man for working hard to provide for you. If you have been overspending, apologize and humbly ask him how you can be a better support with finances.
How is the challenges going for you? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Isn’t it interesting how the man you are married to seems like a different man than the one you dated?! Maybe it’s just me. In fact, I haven’t heard any of my friends mention this odd phenomenon, so it probably IS just me. But just in case you have felt this too – I am going to include this, anyways!
There was a point several years into our marriage when I just stopped and was like: “this guy is so different than the guy I dated!”
I puzzled over it a while till I came to this conclusion:
He was the same man, but his personality didn’t lead him to the same result or action which I thought it would.
I don’t think most men are trying to deceive their wife-to-be. They genuinely think the girlfriend has a fabulous idea, and they agree that yes, going to India with a mission would be interesting and worthwhile. Maybe they even give it some serious thought.
But just because he agrees that it is a wonderful idea, doesn’t mean he is going to drop everything and rush over there with his young wife! (yes, I am using a personal experience here!) See, I though that when he agreed about stuff being cool, he was essentially agreeing that he also wanted to do it, buy it, or be that way.
Now, some of your couple-dynamics may be the opposite of this. I know wives who are more cautious and it is the husband who leaps into things feet-first! Maybe the wife is like: “Wait, you really intended to DO that? I thought we were just talking about how cool it was, not about actually doing it!” 😀
Either way, we can easily get stuck in the trap of being dissapointed because he doesn’t seem to be the same person that we married.
Two problems that often come up; either we try to change him, or we get bitter.
Neither option is Christlike or healthy. There are so many jokes about trying to change your man, but I am thankful that many men do not change that easily! We need men who have a backbone and stand for what they believe.
And becoming bitter is just ugly. I know your husband may not ‘turn out’ quite as you’d hoped. Maybe he is ‘way off track on how you had agreed to live life. But bitterness is so ugly and unChristlike!
What to do.
Pray. Pray for God’s will to be done. Pray for wisdom and grace. Pray for your hearts to be knit together in God’s perfect calling for you. You don’t believe prayer works because you don’t believe God. Prayer does work!
Change. Not a popular idea, in this day of independant thought and women’s rights. We will fight to the last breath to do what we want, never bowing our head to someone else – especially, it seems, not to our husband. But when we decide to lay aside our ideas and be willing to support our husband, it is amazing how God can change your desires!
Remember the foundation we laid in Day 1? We need to become one, (Genesis 2:24) submit to our husband, (Ephesians 5:22-24) and respect our husband (Ephesians 5:33).
Respect Him. I think we find it hard to respect our man because he is different than us. He doesn’t do things the way I think a husband should, or the way I think a Christian should, or the way I thought HE would, before we married. So I whine and complain and nag. Nagging is not respectful. Will you start taking Scripture seriously and stop nagging your husband? Also; manipulating is not Scriptural, either.
Understand that you have changed, too. I bet you have changed as much, maybe more, than he has! Are you the happy, smiling girl he dated? Do you flirt with him still? Do you hang on his every word? Maybe he thought you adored him, and now wonders why you even married him?! Hmm?
My husband and I haven’t always been on the same page. The India-mission thing was short-lived, but there have been other ideas and plans that we had to deal with. In the end, though, we always want
1. a good relationship with each other,
2. to honor God with our marriage,
3. to have fun and never live bitter.
So we work it out. But I can honestly say that most of the time, if my man thinks it is a bad idea – it usually is. I trust him and his wisdom.
And I remind myself that maybe it isn’t him who changed – maybe I just didn’t know him as well as I thought I did!
Today’s Challenge: Take a minute to think about ways YOU may have changed. Think about how it may have affected him. Pray over your marriage.
Today I want to take a look at what it means to be committed to your marriage. We established yesterday that a Godly marriage must be rooted in God’s Word, so what does God have to say about commitment?
“But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.7 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother,8 and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh.9 What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” Mark 10:7-9
We are living in a culture that promotes keeping our options open. We can’t decide on a major in college, we don’t want to commit to a career or denomination or political party. Creative types (like me!) want to dabble in everything, so we call ourselves “multi-passionate”, as if that means anything, other than that we are undecided wafflers!
I stumbled across an article I really liked, this morning. It fits quite well with this topic. Read it here: Stop Leaving Your Options Open.
It links to some studies on marriages where people live together prior to marriage. Data proves that couples are more likely to divorce if they live together first.
I believe that marriage is forever. No divorce. It really makes you aware of who you marry when you truly believe your vows. “Until death do us part” is not just in there to sound cool. It means something. Do they even vow that to each other, anymore?
If you aren’t yet married: be careful whom you marry. If you are married: decide from now on, you will not entertain thoughts of leaving your husband. Decide that you are in it for good. That your bridges are burnt and you are standing with your man, for better or worse. Even though he has problems, even though he may not be saved.
You know, sometimes I think we expect more from our husbands because they ARE saved. Because they profess to be Christian, godly men – we hold them to an impossibly high standard. If he was not saved – do you think you could stay with him, hoping to lead him to Christ? Do that now. Yes, he may have weak spots – so show him Christ. By your Christlikeness. Not by preaching.
But what about infidelity? Abuse?
Those are indeed issues. I do believe that there is an exception for adultery, as Scripture says in Matthew 19:9, Matthew 5:32. However, I can’t ignore the testimony of many couples where there was adultery, and yet they stayed together. With the grace of God and a forgiving spouse – even that situation can be redeemed.
If your husband is physically abusing you or your children, leave. No two ways about it. I am not saying divorce – perhaps by God’s grace your husband will repent and turn to God, and your family can be salvaged. This is a situation where you need counsel from trusted authorities, hopefully you have a pastor or other trusted Christian mentor who can guide you.
Mental/emotional abuse… I hate this one, because it gets sticky. (is it truly abuse, or just two very selfish people?) But again, get counsel. Get advice. Get help. Maybe you need to separate for a while, then be reconciled. I don’t know. But I do know that especially while you have kids at home, you should be careful – very, very careful – about divorcing.
See, I grew up in a home where my parents had difficulties in their marriage. I won’t go into detail out of respect for them. But it was rough. Many people in their situation would have parted ways many times! But not my parents. They believed divorce was wrong, so they made it work. You know what? I was scared more than anything that they would separate. As a child, I hated the stress of disagreements, but I still wanted us to be a family. There is something vitally important to a child about a family with both parents – even if it is just a good front.
Now, my parents are aging, as we all do. My mother has ALS (Lou Gehrigs disease) and watching dad care for her, I see a softness in him that makes me cry. Dad has had a few bad episodes with his health, and watching mom try to care for him is touching. What if they’d separated?? Is their marriage perfect? No, but who of us is perfect. They still have each other, 52 years later.
I guess what I am trying to say is; don’t be so quick to throw away a whole lifetime of loving, caring, living – just because you don’t like something about your spouse. Just because it is hard. I can say with some confidence, that you will have times when you don’t like each other. But keep loving. Love is a choice. Commitment is a choice. Most marriages do not have the ‘big 2’ of physical abuse or infidelity. Mostly, it’s just two sinners trying to live together and getting frustrated with each other.
You know what is to blame? Self. You want him to treat you in a certain way, or do a certain thing, and when he doesn’t – you get ticked off. You think you are more important than he is.
To have the best chance at long-term marriage happiness, you need to commit. To go all in. Don’t think about divorce – that’s off the table. Nope. Just settle in for the long haul.
Does that sound depressing? It doesn’t have to be!!
Come back tomorrow to read about what love actually is.
Today’s challenge: Tell your husband that you are committed to sticking with him. That even you may go through (or are in!) rough spots, even if you get frustrated at him – that you are not going to leave him. My husband and I got married with the strong conviction that divorce is wrong – but we still commit ourselves to each other occasionally. Just hearing my husband reassure me that he will never leave me, is somehow comforting. We have been married nearly 17 years, and we still like hearing each other say it. Don’t be afraid that it will sound weird. Just do it.
Today I begin a month-long series on marriage. I want to spend the next 31 days focusing on my marriage and I am challenging YOU to spend a little time on yours! I am joining Write 31 Days for a blogging challenge. I will be sharing little bits of our story and tips for growing closer as a couple.
If you want a strong house that stands the storms of life, start with a solid foundation. Jesus Christ is that strong foundation in a marriage. All the answers you need for your marriage are found in God’s Word. What does the Bible say about marriage?
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
Not two people co-existing, not roommates, but ONE. Two people, blended into one, yet still individuals. Doesn’t God think of the best things?! This means you don’t carry on with your plans for your life as if it only concerns you. You stop and discuss things with your husband. (I’m writing to wives, primarily, although much applies to both. ) Career, vacations, days out, evenings, weekends. You build a life together – not two separate lives that intersect over dinner.
2. Submit to your husband.
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:22-24
Oh boy. Here we go, right?! No one likes these verses. But there they are. We could try to explain them or just avoid them altogether, but there they are. I believe that it is a clear as can be, that wives are to submit to their husbands. Oh yes, I know all the excuses and wild for-examples. For the record; no, I do not think you need to submit to your husband if he asks you to sin. But that is the rare exception, isn’t it? Mostly, we just want an excuse to live the way we want, not submitting to anyone.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
3. Respect our husband.
Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she [r]respects her husband. Ephesians 5:33
Respect is such a powerful thing. I mean, it can change a person’s behavior! If you don’t believe me, start to purposefully show respect to your husband. See what happens. If you haven’t respected him till now, you may be surprised at how he begins to love you. Respect begets love.
You respect him – he will love you. Shouldn’t he love you first? Shouldn’t he have to earn your respect? Yes, in a way. But even if you can’t respect him as a person, you can respect his position. God has placed him as the one responsible in your marriage, so respect that position.
4. Love each other.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; Romans 12:10
Love each other fervently. Love each other the way you desire to be loved. Be understanding. Be gentle. Overlook small things. Serve. Set your mind to love your husband well. Ask God for wisdom in this, too. Every day, get up and ask God “How can I show my husband genuine love today?” Do this for 31 days, and I believe you will find a difference in your heart and attitude.
Won’t you join me for the next 31 days, as we look at some ways to deepen and strengthen our marriages?
Comment with one thing that you feel is essential to a strong, Godly marriage. I’d love to hear from you!
Today’s challenge: Look up and read 5 verses about marriage in the Bible. We must begin reading our Bibles again. No matter how much we respect Christian leaders, we must start listening to God. Spend a few minutes in prayer, asking God to show you what He thinks about marriage.
View from Kennaday Peak, overlooking Coad Mountain and Elk Mountain.
Summer is nearly over – a summer full to the brim with work, fun, activities, and lots of time outdoors! We crammed as much into the last 3 months as possible. Soaked up every drop of Wyoming sunshines and sage-scented breeze. We swatted mosquitoes in June, drove to branding after branding in July, and made hay between rainstorms in August.
My parents spent the month of July here at our place. They parked their camper in the backyard and enjoyed the beautiful weather. (they did not enjoy the skeeters, but they put up with them!)
Mom sewing a dress for Reata.
Dad and Reata.
Dad’s camper and car – as they leave the ranch.
In August, my mother-in-law and brother-in-law came for a few days. We really enjoyed showing them our part of the country. We drove to the back of the ranch, went fishing, had a picnic at Turpin res, and took them to the top of Kennaday Peak (first pic).
Cliff and his brother Josh, canoeing on Turpin Res.
Jenni and Lucia get a ride with Uncle Josh and Grandma.
Our boss blessed us with 35 dozen ears of corn one fine Saturday, so the kids and Grandma and I, pitched in and put it up for winter. Husked, blanched, cut, and bagged – it made 23 quarts of corn (if I remember correctly). Such a good feeling to get corn in the freezer!
We stopped and watched the eclipse, too. Although we were only 98%, and from what I have seen, the 100% totality range was far better. But we still enjoyed the eerie duskiness, and the kids will surely remember the day it got dark and cold at noon.
Taking a break from raking hay, to eat a bite and watch the eclipse.
Our son learned to rake hay this summer. Our oldest daughter learned, too. They have been raking a few days each week, and I am so happy to see it! Nothing like hard work to mature a kid. Yes they get hot and tired. Yes they get hungry between meals – it doesn’t hurt them – it prepares them for life. Real life.
I am concerned for our current culture where folks think they can eat and live with minimum effort. I mean, there is nothing shameful about hard work and a little discomfort.
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be sissies. Let them taste hard work, and the resulting contentment. Let them get tired and sore and wind-blown. It will put steel in their backbone and strength in their arms. It will make them more understanding, and they will have less time for foolishness. It will teach them LIFE.
I see kids at age 8 and 9 who have never pulled a weed or picked up sticks. The poor kids have no idea how to work! It really is a disservice to your child to not allow him the privilege of honest work.
You live in the city? Your yard needs raked and cleaned up, no? Teach your child.
You eat and live in your home, right? Teach them to cook, clean, and repair.
If you can’t think of a single job for your child – volunteer. Take them to a soup kitchen or hospital or park board, or enroll them in 4H. There are plenty of businesses that need small jobs done. Get creative of you must, but please teach your child how to work. They may dislike it now, but will thank you later.
Frank raking hay.
My sweet mother-in-law picked these flowers for me.
I have been an avowed workout-hater. I mean, I made all the snide remarks and shared all the funny memes. 😉 But, last fall I began exercising daily. Monday-Saturday, every morning. I have a real love/hate relationship with exercise. I hate cardio, even though it is good for me! But I love strength training! I enjoy pilates and core work, too.
Well, this summer I got so busy and had so many guests, I have fallen off the proverbial wagon. I want to start exercising again, and I think you should too! Here’s why:
It makes you feel good! You know that satisfied, happy feeling after a large, carb-y meal? Or when you eat chocolate? The same endorphins – happy hormones – are released when you workout.
Also, my clothes started getting loser! I could literally go down a size in jeans and I hadn’t lost any weight! Wow.
Another benefit: muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn! (You won’t get bulky unless you really try, so relax about that)
Well good news! A bunch of trainers got their heads together and compiled a huge bundle of fitness products for you, for one low price. I am late to the party, so there is only 3 days left in this awesome sale! Better go grab your bundle here: Freedom Fitness Bundle!
Personally, the Endurance/HIIT section pretty attractive! I mean, check out this title:
I Want Abs: A Documentary For Regular People Who Want To Get In Shape, But Don’t Know How by Sergei Boutenko ($45.00) <——-That alone would nearly pay for the whole bundle!! Totally worth it, right? I mean, skip one meal out, for a bundle worth over a thousand dollars?! Sounds good to me!
Yeah, that would be me! 😀 Also the Quick home workouts – honestly that’s probably all I’ll use. I am busy – no time for long sessions!
As I’m sure you’ve seen, the internet is brimming with workout plans and video tutorials that feature fit men and women who promise big results.
And while I love how the convenience of the web can help people reach their fitness goals, you also have to be careful.
Just because someone is fit, doesn’t mean they got there in a way that’s healthy and safe. And following the advice of a fake expert on YouTube can lead to serious injuries that derail your progress, torment you with pain, and rack up expensive medical bills.
What’s the best way to avoid these headaches? Only buy trainings that have been created or approved by real experts.
And the easiest way to do that is the Freedom Fitness Bundle.
You want to connect with your child, but you don’t know where to start. Maybe you didn’t grow up with siblings, maybe you didn’t have a close relationship with your own mother. Anyways, you aren’t sure how to go about building those connections.
When I became a mom, I didn’t know how! I thought connecting would come naturally, like learning to comb your own hair. But as it turns out, it can be hard! Maybe it’s just my independent nature. I like to be left alone to red a book, or take a walk, or whatever. I am somewhat of an introvert, so I can handle alone-ness quite well.
But, to be a friend, one must step outside of their comfortable space, and step into the life of another. And this was where I got hung up.
“But your own kids?! What is wrong with you?!”
I don’t know. Maybe I am just weird. Maybe I am more of a introvert than I thought! Maybe I didn’t have a close enough relationship with my own mom. At any rate, I struggle with this!
One easy way I have learned to connect with my kids, has been to laugh with them. (not at them!) Who cares if their jokes are corny or their stories repeated? I just laugh with them! We laugh at silly pictures we find online, we laugh at corny jokes and puns (latest obsession!), we laugh at funny accents and just pretty much anything we can. Now, I am the first to say “cut the foolishness”. After all, God’s Word tells us that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child…
“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.” Proverbs 22:15
So, we sure don’t want to encourage foolishness. But happy giggles, clean fun and lots of laughter – oh, this is good for the soul!
I purposely look for funny things to share with my kids, so we can laugh about it together. There is something about laughing together that builds a bond.
I encourage you to try it. Google “clean kid jokes” and you will find some great ones! Surprise your kids with some gut-busting humor today. 😉
Do you like to joke and laugh with your kids?
Is it hard to connect, or what things do you do, to build that connection?
Let us know by dropping a comment below, we’d love to learn from you!
Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped.And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” Matthew 14:28-33
The ‘water’ in our life can take many forms. Health problems, financial difficulties, marital tension, relational problems, family issues… the list goes on.
Peter recognized Jesus in the midst of his storm. He saw Jesus, and he wanted Jesus! Notice Peter didn’t ask Jesus to quiet the storm. He just said “command me to come to You.” Peter wanted to be with Jesus.
What an example! He didn’t care about the storm, he wanted to be in the presence of Jesus more than he wanted the storm to be still. I want to be like that – to look UP. To look above the storms and wild waves of my life, and see Jesus – walking on top of the water.
Have you seen Jesus in your storm?Have you asked, with your small faith, to come to Him? He offers the same power to us, that He did to Peter.
“Come!” Jesus command rings out with power you can grab on to. Grab hold, my friend! He will not let you drown. But don’t take your eyes off Him – even for a second. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, and you will walk above the waves of your stormy sea. Water is for walking on, after all!
I often identify with the impulsive, passionate personality of Peter. He would shoot off at the mouth, get angry, even lie. Then – almost immediately – he would be remorseful, repentant, and fall at Jesus’ feet in love and adoration. I know that feeling. Oh, how often I get in trouble with my impulsive, passionate nature! Yet Jesus is always there to rebuke, instruct, and love. He keeps tenderly, lovingly, gently drawing me to Himself.
Even though Peter was not the model disciple (as we would think), he was the only one who walked on the water with Jesus. He failed miserably many times; in anger he cut off the soldier’s ear, in fear he denied knew Jesus, in despair went back to his nets when Jesus was crucified. Yet Jesus saw his faith, small though it was. Jesus still loved him and gave him power. Peter was the one to whom Jesus said “Come!”
We may not look put together, we may be messy and have a lot of work to do yet. But if we love Jesus deeply and passionately, and have faith – we too, can walk on the waves.
Let’s lift our eyes above the stormy waves, and cry out to our Lord to save us. To help us. To give us wisdom. He will, you know.
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? Matthew 6:25-26
In my last Journey of Faith post, I told you how I overcame discouragement and loneliness. And how we found out that my husband would lose his job in a few weeks…
It was early January, cold and snowy. We were living in an old, drafty farmhouse that was hard to heat. (we had moved from the trailer house into a farmhouse in the country, in October) We put a blanket over the staircase, moved the kids’ beds downstairs, and heated only the living room and kitchen. Propane was costing us 450.00 every 4-5 weeks to heat our house – it was eating up our small budget too fast. I remember at one point wondering how we were going to survive the winter without begging for money!
But I learned once again that God never fails His children! He is always faithful to supply our needs. We trusted Him, Cliff worked hard, I tried to be as thrifty as I could, and we always had food to eat. One time a man came to church – just a visitor – and after church he took Cliff out to his vehicle and gave us bags and boxes of food. Produce, mostly, and some dried beans. All from his garden! He said he had ‘way too much garden veggies, and wanted to bless someone with it! As far as I know, he never came back to church – I am certain he was an angel. We ate squash, potatoes, carrots, beans, and many other good vegetables for weeks. Sometimes there would be an envelope in our mailbox with a little cash in it. I wish I knew who felt prompted by God to give – we never asked for money or talked about our finances. I would like to thank those dear saints for being sensitive to the Holy Spirit in their lives!
Well, back to the lay-off… When we heard that we’d be out of a job in a couple weeks, we honestly were stumped. What does a person do who gets laid off in the middle of winter with literally no savings, no college degree, no nothing?!
God answered our prayers in a powerful, amazing way!
My sister and her husband used to work on a ranch near Cheyenne, WY, and we used to visit them there. Through them, we learned to know a young man who ran cattle on a couple ranches in WY. Well, when we were considering what to do for a job, Cliff remembered that young man, and decided to call him up.
When Cliff asked him if he had any job openings, the man answered: “Yes, I just leased a new ranch this month and need a another guy to help run it. You can start next week.”
We were blown away! God had lined up the perfect job for us at the exact time we needed it. I tell you, friends, God does things like this all the time. We aren’t special or anything. But I have trained myself to see God’s hand in everything. You can do that too. Write it down. Or tell someone. Don’t say: “Well that was pretty neat!” and forget about it. Notice when God works a miracle for you. Praise Him! Thank Him!
“…for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” Matt. 6:8S
So on Monday morning, Cliff packed a sleeping bag and a suitcase and drove up to Wyoming to start his new job. I stayed in CO and started packing. I packed up all our belongings as best I could between caring for three little ones. (the kids were 1, 3 and 5) On Saturday, Cliff came home and we loaded most of our belongings into our trusty pink horse-trailer and headed north.
On Monday, I took the kids and drove down with the truck and trailer for the final load. My sister came along to help, since she was visiting for awhile. She helped me clean the house and pack up the remaining things.
Ranch life was good. Cliff enjoyed the work, the salary was better than we had ever enjoyed before, (that’s not saying much, but while you won’t get rich on a ranch, at least you have a house!) and we all loved the wide open spaces of Wyoming!
Three short months after we moved to Wyoming, our faith was tested in a very different and difficult manner. Our youngest child, Andy, was playing near the irrigation canal and drowned. It was by far the most trying circumstance we had to face. But as always, God brought us through that, too. I am thankful for the grace of God that is give in every situation. I did struggle quite a bit with guilt over Andy’s death. Then I had to learn to graciously respond to people’s ignorant but well-meaning comments. Each part of the trial forced me to lean on God more, and dig deeper in His Word and His wisdom.
If you want to read the story of Andy, you can find it here. Andy
That was ten years ago. We have been living in Wyoming and working on ranches and we still like Wyoming! It is our favorite state, despite the brutal winters and mosquito-laden summers. We lived on that first ranch (the X-Bar) for 4.5 years, then moved to a ranch north of Cheyenne for 5 years, and currently we are on a ranch in the mountains west of Laramie.
Our children are blessed to grow up in this wonderful ranching community, learning to rope and ride and care for animals. Cliff still enjoys ranching, he also owns a small leather business on the side where he makes saddles, chaps, and other gear for working cowboys.
After our son died, I started reading about foster care, and slowly my heart was drawn to the amazing work of being a safe place for kids who are removed from their homes. After 5 years of my reading and dreaming, we were licensed as a foster home, and received our first placement in May, 2015. Foster care was never Cliff’s dream, but he supported my dream. After 7 kids coming through our home, I can say the honeymoon period is over, haha! but I still have an incredible burden for these kids and this work. Even when it is the hardest, I am reminded how precious each child is to our God, how much He cares about them.
Our life looks so much different than I ever thought it would, but God’s plans are always best. So many things He said “No” to, and that was best. Then He said “Yes” to many wonderful things that I could never have dreamed of! I am learning to take each experience from His hand of love, and be thankful.
If this series has blessed or encouraged you in any way, I would love if you leave a comment and tell me why! Thank you to all who have replied to my stories and encouraged me to write it.
Last week we had a bit of snow, again. It covered the mud and made it pretty for a day or so. We have had some type of snow/sleet/rain mix periodically over the past two weeks. Great stuff for a ranch! Moisture at this time of year should make the grass (hay) grow pretty good.
My parents were here for a little over a week in April. My sister Jane and her family (5 kids) came up for a couple days too. That was fun! Our kids played in the mud, fished in the creek, and just ran around like cousins like to do!
Family hotdog roast.
While my parents were here, we received a call about a little girl who needed a place to stay. We had said “no more foster kiddos”, but when there’s a need, the DFS tends to call anyways! Ha!
Well, hearing her story turned our hearts to mush, (every story does!) and we said ‘yes’.
I bought a smoker/grill combo last summer. I am finally trying my hand at smoking, recently. The first attempt was tasty, but not soft enough for pulled pork. Yesterday I loaded my smoker in the morning and by evening it was done. The ribs were less tender than I wished, but the pork butt was pretty great! The elk roast is surprisingly tender too, although the outer crust is pretty hard. I may try wrapping in bacon next time. I can say I am hooked on smoking! Delicious! I miss southern bbq sometimes, so now I can finally make my own!
smoked, pulled pork
Smoked elk roast. Check out that smoke ring!
The month of May promises to be full to the brim with fun events. Brandings, recital for my musical kids, church meetings, visiting with old friends, a wedding, and more brandings! 😀 Not to mention; gardening time is here! Chicks! Flowers! Woohoo! 😀 I have started working on my raised beds, and plan to finish them and plant them this month.
That’s what we’ve been up to; what about you? Anything special going on?