Saturday, February 7, 2015

Upcoming Barn Sales at Past Blessings Farm!

Well, howdy, Y'all!
It has been several months since I have posted . . . life has been a bit chaotic these days . . . lots of changes both good and bad, that I promise I will fill you in on soon.  But until then, I thought I would at least let you know about our upcoming Monthly Sales here in our barn at Past Blessings Farm.  In fact our next sale . . . our annual "Junk Love" sale is almost here . . . Friday, February 13th and Saturday, February 14th from 10 am to 4 pm both days.

And we have lots more sales scheduled throughout the year!!  Just look at this list!

Hope to see you all here at the Farm!  Our barn is packed with things to love and things to give to your love! ♥  From hand painted primitives, amazing furniture, farmhouse decor, farmgirl jewelry and more, there is something for everyone . . . to make your heart go pitter patter! Celebrate Valentine's day with a little "Junk Love" here at Past Blessings Farm.

So much to say and share . . . I promise we will pour ourselves a hot cup of tea and have a good long chat real soon . . . check back in the near future!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pickin', Nashville and a Drum Roll, Please . . .

This last month has been so much fun . . . hectic and exhausting, but so wonderful.  Since my last post, we have enjoyed our third, and fabulously successful "Pickin' on the Prairie" here on Past Blessings Farm.  We had over 40 vendors this year and everything went nearly "picture perfect" . . . just a couple behind the scenes "oops" and "oh nos!" but nothing major.  Our vendors were amazing and the variety was spectacular. The positive feedback was amazing. I will post more pictures of this great event soon.

Three days after our sale, in the wee hours of the morning, we boarded a plane, bound for Nashville.  Ron and I have never done a big trip with just the two of us, so this was our little present to ourselves.  I chose Nashville because it seemed like the perfect blend of history, music and antiques . . . all the things we love.  It did not disappoint.  If you ever get the chance to visit Nashville, you will agree.  It is a beautiful area, the people are kind and friendly and there is so much to do.  We were gone for 9 days and we still didn't see it all.  I will do a separate post on this trip of a lifetime soon.

As we are settling in to fall, we are now getting ready for our  "Happy Fall Y'all" weekend sale here at the farm.  I did a bit of buying in Nashville and have been scouring the countryside since our return, finding all sorts of amazing treasures.  I also have been making signs, redoing some fun furniture and so much more.  Our barn is busting at the seams . . . I am hoping the weather will allow us to open our doors and let the bounty of treasures spill out.  But if not, we may be a bit squished, but it will be worth it, I promise.  This sale is Friday and Saturday, September 26th and 27th from 9 am to 5 pm.  Hope to see you all there.

Don't miss our Happy Fall Y'all Sale here at Past Blessings Farm,
Friday & Saturday, September 26th & 27th from 9 to 5.
And now . . . drum roll please . . . the most exciting news . . . Past Blessings Farm was voted #1 for Best Antiques in KREM TV's (our CBS affiliate here) "Best of Spokane."  We are honored to be selected and so thankful to our loyal customers.  Without you, we wouldn't be here.  

If you recall my last post was about a life that had grown too big . . . we simply had too many irons in the fire.  So while simplifying our life seems to be more of a process than an instant fix, we have moved forward a bit.  The hardest change we have made was re-homing our sweet plott hound, Paisley.  If you remember, we were blessed with her unexpectedly . . . our son had brought her home, telling us she would be shot by her owner if we didn't take her.  She was a year old and had spent her entire life on a chain.  She had no training or discipline.  We fell in love with her and began the process of trying to train a dog that was now past the puppy stage.  She was sweet and loving and fabulous on a leash.  I loved my morning walks with her.  But we were not making the progress we wanted on potty training and she was an escape artist.  After yet another day searching the prairie for her, I found myself bailing her out of the dog shelter for a hefty $84.  We finally had to accept that while we loved her, she needed a fully fenced yard and someone who could devote more time to training her than we could.  We gave her to a sweet family that was beyond excited to get her.  We know she will be happy and she left with a big doggy smile on her face and a wagging tail.  I shed a few tears and still miss her on my morning walks, but we know it was a good first step in simplifying.

We also wanted to focus more on doing the monthly sales here at the farm better . . . which meant doing less other things.  So I pulled out of a local shop I was a vendor in and have eliminated doing other antique shows for now.  While we love doing the shows, they are a lot of work and we find ourselves moving in too many directions. We are also setting up an online store, which we hope will be up and running within the month.  While I know this sounds like more work, it is simply an extension of the sales we already do here on the farm and can be pretty much done from home, so it does make it simple.  

We will still continue in our pursuit of simplicity . . . both in our business and in our personal lives.  Our home has been and is continuing to be greatly pared down from what it once was. Stuff seems to have lost it's luster for me and has instead been replaced by a love of simple, organized and calm.  This means as I go deeper into my need for simplicity, more and more things get eliminated from my home . . . making me one of my own best sources for "pickin".  I have had more than one customer ask, "What's new from your home?" , , , and then they enjoy shopping the treasures that once graced our home.

But I have concluded that simplicity is more than just paring down.  It is a chosen lifestyle.  It is saying no to all the wrong things so you can say yes to the few chosen right things.  Sometimes the wrong things still have value . . . they may even seem good or noble.  But if they are keeping you from spending time with God, keeping you from focusing on your family and those you love most, they are tethers that need to be cut loose.  What is it in your life you need to cut loose?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Past Blessings Farm and the Too Big Life . . .

"Pickin' on the Prairie" is a successful antique show held on our property every August.  Click here for more information:  "Pickin' on the Prairie" Antique Show & Artisan Market
It's almost here . . . only 12 days until "Pickin' on the Prairie!"  We are so excited . . . we have the most amazing vendors and we just can't wait to show them off to you.  Make sure you keep your calendar clear and come on over for a visit here at Past Blessings Farm!

But speaking of clear calendars, I have been doing a lot of thinking this last year or so about life.  Not just life in general, but the life my husband and our family has.  And I've come to a very profound realization (drum roll please . . .)   "Our life is too big!!"  Not that it isn't wonderful in so many ways.  We have this amazing 10 acres with the most beautiful views.  I never get tired of the beauty of where we live.  I have an fabulous husband and three great kids, that are really young men now.  We have dogs, and barn cats and chickens.  A garden growing in the most adorable raised beds we made from old . . . well . . . beds! My husband has a well paying job.  We have lots of family living nearby.  We have some great friends.  We are involved in church and have our fingers in several other worthwhile things within the community.  Our business "Past Blessings Farm" is growing and flourishing.  We are in the midst of getting our online business up and running and are excited about what the future may hold for that.  I am a vendor in the most amazing shop, "The Reardan Plowboy" in a sweet little farm town just outside of Spokane.  I am a vendor in The Farm Chicks each year, which is one of the most loved and attended shows in the country.  Yes, there are so many wonderful things about our life.

But here' the thing . . . it's too big . . . it just doesn't fit well.  I am like the little girl playing dress up in her daddy's overalls . . . I just don't have the ability to fill it up and still keep my peace and sanity.  I am too small and my life is too big.  So what is the answer when life outgrows you?  When there are more things on your plate then the plate will hold and less time on the clock than the day needs.  It means something has to go.

As I have blogged about over the course of the last year, I have been in search of simplicity.  But primarily that has entailed getting rid of stuff.  This has been and continues to be a great first step.  Our house and shop have went on a major diet.  We have been to the dump, Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity so many times, as we offload more and more stuff, that I am thinking I may need to start going incognito . . . but I may have given away all our costumes!
I used to wonder what could possibly drive someone to a minimalist life.  I have always loved being surrounded by my collections and my stuff.  I like my "pretties" and the originality it gives my home.  But I am starting to understand the draw . . . making sense of the oft heard phrase, "Less is More."  As my junk drawers becomes a singular junk drawer and my closet has only clothes I actually like to wear, there is a certain peace that comes in having less.

But what about the non-material things.  The busyness.  And especially if that busyness is for good things?  How do you minimize that.  What do you prioritize as "must keeps" verses things you let go of.  If you came to this blog thinking I was going to give you some great insightful answer, I am sorry, you've come to the wrong place.  I am still in the pondering and contemplating stage. But that's okay . . . I do not want to hastily shut a door until I know the door is meant to be shut.   I don't want to say no to what should be a yes.  But I know there needs to be a few more "No's" and some boundaries drawn.

I am evaluating what deserves to be a keeper and what can be let go of.  Of course my husband and children are keepers . . . even on the days they may push my buttons and make me think of what my life may have been had a become a nun!
My husband's job has been averaging 70 or more hours a week lately and I work at my business well more than full time hours as I do my show and monthly sales, refinish furniture, make signs, and hunt and gather treasures.  While I know adding online sales is "one more thing", we also believe it may be an integral part of the changes we need to make.

We have aging parents that are now requiring more time and help.  While our kids are pretty independent these days, there is still meals to be made, laundry to be done and a house to be cleaned.  And, yes, the saying "this house isn't gonna clean itself" is true.  Trust me . . . I've waited to see . . . and it didn't happen.  Still waiting to see if the weeds will weed themselves . . . I'll get back to you on that one!

My husband is on the board at our church and plays the drums for the worship services.  He teaches Wednesday night classes often and substitutes for Sunday School frequently.  I volunteer in our church's coffee shop.   And then there is our property . . . our beautiful peace of paradise.  Paradise, we have discovered, comes at a great price.  When we bought this 1898 farmstead, we knew it was a "fixer upper" . . . but somehow when you are in the midst of buying it, you envision yourself with a bandanna in your hair and a hammer in your hand, conquering all the creative endeavors your little heart can dream up.  You don't think about disasters happening and the mundane breaking down.  The visions of putting in beautiful moldings get waylaid by repairing plumbing and nailing on roofing as it blows off whenever we have a windstorm.  The creative side of the term "fixer upper" has been replaced by the mundane side that rears it's ugly head and forces it's needs to the forefront.  

And then there is this other word.  A word I don't like to use very much, because it goes hand in hand with a word I really disdain.  The word is tired . . . and yes, you guessed it.  The despised word that skips merrily along side of "Tired"?  . . . "Old."  I hate to even say it.
 I am always on the go.  Always doing some project, some activity, some something.  I have always had a seemingly boundless amount of energy.  But lately, it has all been too much.  I got to bed exhausted and wake up tired.  And so does my poor husband.

So what do we change.  So many things we love . . . so many people we love . . . our beautiful location we love . . . my dream job that allows me to be creative everyday . . . where is the wiggle room?  What can we eliminate so that our life fits just a little better.   We need to go on a diet here . . . a "our life is too big" diet . . . all the signs are clear . . . but now it is just figuring out  what diet plan works for us.  

As I write these ramblings, I really have no idea what changes the next year or two will bring.  We just know change is needed.  We are leaving on a much needed vacation to Nashville two days after our show ends.  I am praying that during that away time we will not only get the rest we both seek, but that God will give us some clarity on the changes we need to make.

I am not down in the dumps of depression or fearful for the future . . . in fact I am excited about the possibilities that are out there.  So for now, I need to just keep plugging away . . . I need to get our farm "company ready" for "Pickin' on the Prairie" and have a lot of projects to get done.  My hand is on the plow and I am only looking forward.  But change is coming . . . and I have no idea what that will look like!

How about you?  Is your life too big?  If so, maybe you too can join us on this life diet.  But one thing I know . . . no matter how big our life seems right now, or how overwhelming life can be, God is bigger still.  We serve a big God and He wants us to live lives of peace and calm.  Lives that have plenty of room for time with Him, for time with who and what matters, and time for rest.  Can't wait for Him to show us what this diet plan looks like!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Broken . . .

Good Morning!  I haven't blogged for over 3 months.  The last few months have been a blur of emotions and changes.  So many times I have started to blog, but just didn't feel like I could put what I was thinking on paper  . . . even if it is only "cyber paper."  The life I live is a real life, with real hurts, reactions and relationships.  That being said, my blog is often read by people who are in my "real life."  So while I want my blog to be something I can hopefully use a means of encouragement or hope, I also need to guard the privacy of myself and those I care about.  So if I seem somewhat vague on what I am talking about, I apologize.
That being said, the last few months have brought about quite a bit of change for me, on a very personal level.  It has been a time of great self-evaluation.  I have asked God to show me what I need to change, to make it clear to me the direction my life needs to move.  He has very clearly closed some doors and I pray He will open others.  When things began crumbling, I found myself at a place I am not sure I have ever been before.  I felt alone.  I felt hurt.  But more than that, I felt broken.  Yes, I have dealt with grief at some level before.  I have been hurt and even mistreated.  But I had always felt hopeful.  I had always simply expected the sun to shine and for life to get better.  But this time, for the first time, I didn't expect that.  Instead, I found myself feeling changed . . . saddened, removed and . . . yes . . . "broken.

Have you ever felt broken?  Have you ever felt like you finally passed a threshold that doesn't allow you to turn around and go back . . . or even to choose another door?  Sort of like the Hotel California . . . you can never leave.  I found myself contemplating my new "state of being."  I felt sort of numb.  Perhaps like someone just observing the life of another but not really living it.  As I watched this life . . . this life I somehow felt disconnected from . . . there was an odd peace.  Not happiness . . . no, I knew I was still mourning the loss of friendship and normalcy, but peace never-the-less.  Another odd feeling for me . . . could I truly be sad and yet peaceful at the same time?  Could things feel insecure and temporal and yet still walk hand in hand with peace?   And I realized yes.

Would I have chosen this walk?  Definitely not.  Did I want friendships to dissolve?  Did I want my confidence shaken and my self worth damaged.  Of course not.  But standing on the edge of the sea of despair, I found peace.  Because I realized through it all I had discovered a truth.  The truth of faith.

Faith . . . such an over used word.  You can visit just about any home decor shop and find some kind of wood cutout or signage that simply says, "Faith."  T-shirts declare this single word phenomenon.  Facebook and Pinterest make daily proclamations about "Having faith in Mankind" or "Faith in One Another." But I know the truth.  Faith by itself means nothing.  There is no value in the word faith, only in the reason for faith.

I do not have faith in mankind.  Mankind has and will fail.   We will treat each other with selfish ambition.  We will mistreat and disrespect.  As Romans 3:10 says, "None is righteous, no not one"  Faith in mankind is not a statement of truth.  It is not something to seek after or strive for. Why would we have faith in something that is not righteous?  It is not something we simply have.  It is not something we should look for in one another.  I do not have faith in you.  And I ask that you not have faith in me.  No, here is the truth about faith . . . it has only one true author . . . it can only be found through one source . . . While I can and should point you to this source, do not put your faith in me.  Only one source can give you peace in a time of chaos or great sorrow.  Only God.  Faith should only be directed to and spoken of in regards to God.  While I may believe my husband will earn his next paycheck, my faith is not in his job and his income.  While I enjoy Past Blessings Farm and the income and creative outlet it provides me, it is not my source of peace.  I do not have faith that it will bring me joy and happiness.

Please do not think I am feeling cynical.  Do I still love people and desire friendships?  Of course.  Do I believe people can be kind and loving?  Of course.  But I also know they can and will fail me.  I am tired of being hurt, tired of disappointed.  I have faith.  I love my faith.  But my faith is only in the Lord.  And with that, there is peace.

Dear friend, please don't look to others to bring you peace or contentment.  Seek friendships yes, but don't expect a friend to take the place of God in your life.  A friend cannot and will not be there 24/7.  But God is and always will be.  Even my husband, whom I love at a level that is almost painful, cannot meet me at every level.  God is our creator.  He wove us in the womb and created us from His own hand.  Of course, the creator will love His creation at a level no one else can.  Have faith, my friend.  But put your faith only in one place . . . my faith is in the Lord.

So I am moving forward . . . seeking God's direction.  I have no idea what that may be.  My next few posts will hopefully focus more on Past Blessings Farm and our upcoming show, "Pickin' on the Prairie".

I know my last several blogs have been rather heavy and deep.  I am ready to come out of the mire.  To shake off the mud and focus on joy.  I want to share creativity, ideas to bless others and happiness.  I hope you will stick with me in the days to come.  I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter from Past Blessings Farm!

No time for much of a blog post today, but I did want to pop in and wish each of you a wonderful Easter.

The past couple of weeks have been very emotional for me and I had to deal with realizing that other people will always fail us and I will always fail others.  It is just a sad fact of being human.  We will be too busy and not be there when we should for someone . . . and others will do the same in regards us.  We will not always look for the need, see how someone is hurting or be aware of the condition of their heart.  And others will fail us miserably in this same way.  I saw this clearly and painfully recently, but that is what makes Easter all the more powerful.  We can never and should never expect mankind to meet our needs any more than we should expect a broken vessel to hold fresh water.

Only Christ can fill that void.  He loves us so much He was willing to die for each and every one of us.  He was beaten, whipped, had huge iron nails pierced through his hands and feet, the weight of His own body pulling against those nails as He hung on the cross, tore him inside and eventually He died a horrible, painful death.  What a sad and violent story, if it just ended there.  But praise God, on the third day, He arose . . . Just as He promised!  He arose after paying the price for our sins and offering each of us the gift of salvation.  You simply have to accept it!

Please friend, if you do not know Christ as your Lord and Savior, meet Him today.  He is waiting.  He wants to be the one to fill that emptiness in your heart and be there for all of your ups and downs.  He wants to remold you and repair the broken vessel of your life . . . so you can overflow with the blessings of His living water.

He is risen!  He is risen indeed!  And for that I shall rejoice!

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pickin' On The Prairie HD

Video, Floods & Depression . . .

I know it has been forever since I posted on my blog . . . in fact, if we depended on my blog to feed our family, we would have all starved long ago.  So many things have been happening . . . some good and some not so good.  I have been all over the place on the emotional yo-yo.   I have allowed circumstances steal my peace . . . I want to be so grounded in my Christian walk that I my peace is not affected by the happenings of my life.  But, I hate to admit, dear friends, I have a long way to go.  But this journey, hard though it has been, has shown me that peace has nothing to do with our circumstances.

My home has always been for me a haven . . .  a safe spot . . . a shelter in a time of trouble.  But what if the haven IS the trouble?  In January I was frustrated with a small flood we had in our kitchen . . . not overwhelmed, but frustrated none-the-less.  Our sink drain was leaking and it had left the bottom of the sink cupboard warped, as well as leaving the sub-floor several feet around that area warped . . . meaning the new floor we had just installed would have to be redone and new sub-floor installed.  Yes, this was frustrating, but not insurmountable.  I had made a commitment to be positive this year . . . to not be self-focused or negative.  The words of a friend who had told me months earlier, "you are the most negative person I have ever known" still echoed through my mind and I was trying to not allow that to be true.

I tried so hard to "choose not to be negative" . . . 
So I made a simple joke or two about it on Facebook and to a couple of friends and tried to play it down.  I surmised the damage and decided it was something I could fix myself and didn't really let this problem have any power or affect on my sense of peace or well being.  In the meantime, other issues of life continued . . . helping with aging parents, planning 80th birthday parties for two of them just three weeks apart, dealing with the financial burdens brought on from my hand injury with the table saw and the accompanying surgery and therapy and the dealing with the emotions that come with now adult children who sometimes don't make the decisions we would hope they would make.  I kept trying to take my thoughts captive, to be positive, to be a light in a world of darkness.  And then the scale was tipped even more . . . in late February, we had a very quick thaw that lead to flooding . . . not a minor "let me get a towel or two" flooding, but a rushing mud river of flooding straight into our basement . . . the same basement that had been totally destroyed by a flood three years prior.  The same basement we had spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours redoing.  Panic ensued.  I tried to stay calm, but it was too much . . . how can we have yet another flood?  Who has repeated floods of this magnitude?  But there wasn't time to panic . . . instead we had to turn to the task at hand . . . stopping the flood and saving what we could.  Hauling belongings, shoveling mud, pulling out padding from what had been new carpeting

I tried to stay upbeat.  I posted about it on Facebook.  Several were kind and compassionate.  Others made jokes about swimming pools in the basement or would say things like it could be worse and would then tell their stories.  While I know the jokesters were just trying to lighten the mood and the story tellers were trying to give me some perspective, when you are in the midst of a disaster and seeing all of your hard work and finances crumble to the ground, this is not what you want to hear.  I simply hit the "like" button and pretended it didn't bother me.  I was determined not to be the negative person I had been told I am.  We called a company that deals with flooding emergencies and had them come out and begin vacuuming up the mud waters, while we tried to stop it from continuing.  Within hours they were gone, leaving a hefty bill as their calling card.  I felt numb.  Too many times . . . in our previous house our kitchen had been destroyed by a flood along with the flooring in the adjacent living room, dining room, laundry room and entry area.  It had also destroyed the drywall in the den directly below the kitchen.  It had caused months of chaos and havoc and costed a small fortune.  The first flood we had when we moved to the farm had completely destroyed the entire basement,  and now we stood, having sucked out several inches of mud from the basement in the midst of yet another disaster.  I decided I couldn't deal with the comments on Facebook for a while, so I took a bit of a reprieve.  Ten days later, the weather did it again . . . we had had a major snow storm and then immediately after, it warmed up to the mid 40's and thawed incredibly fast again.  The mud waters started flowing in again.  I was livid . . . not sure who to be livid at, but I was.  I couldn't take the financial burden of it anymore, the destruction of all we had worked so hard to create, the pure physical exhaustion.  I drove in total anger to the hardware store for more sandbags.  While in line to purchase the sandbags, people would ask why I needed them.  Once again, they made light of the situation.   They made jokes.  This time I was just not up for it.  I turned warily to an older man making yet another joke about our "inside swimming pool" and hissed, 'there is nothing funny about it . . . it is destroying our lives."  Poor man.  It shut him up and I didn't even look to see his expression.  I was enjoying my moment of anger and I didn't want it spoiled by a moment of guilt caused by my misplaced anger.  I stormed angrily home, speeding heavily, daring any cop to stop this crazy angry woman.  I am so glad I wasn't pulled over . . . in that state of mind, who knows what I would have said or done!

Eventually the basement dried and now we are in the aftermath . . . the kids are still misplaced from their bedrooms . . . one sleeping in the living room and the other one upstairs by his brother.  We have dressers in our dining room and amplifiers in the entry way.  Our house looks chaotic and nothing is as it should be.  It is not a haven.  We can't do an insurance claim . . . it is considered a natural disaster and not covered by our insurance.  I have been doing sales and anything I can to sell my signs, antiques and whatever else.  But of course, as life would have it, our car brakes are going out and more medical bills have come in.  We need to purchase new padding and have the carpets re-laid and re-stretched and then cleaned of the mud water.   We still aren't sure if the doors are going to be able to be reused and how badly warped the molding will be once we try to put it back on.   The only way to stop the flooding is to install a very long French drain along the edge of the driveway . . . which will take hours and hours to dig a trench and will cost a pretty penny.   I want to be a joyful woman, I want to be a woman of peace and serenity.  I want to speak love, speak calm, be an encourager.  I never set out to be a negative person.  I have been doing my best not to be.  But what do you do when every time you try not to be negative, something negative happens?   And then, because I have been labeled negative, I no longer feel safe to share how I feel.  I feel judged and disliked.  The anger from the circumstances begin mixing themselves with the feelings of judgement and disapproval.   And then an odd thing happens . . . Satan takes notice.  He sees me in my despair, he sees my anger, my depression.  And he says "I can do better."  So I get on Facebook . . . I notice how unloved I seem to be in the antiquing community . . . others getting together . . . taking antiquing trips together, dinner parties I wasn't invited to . . . and the depression increases.  "They all hate you" Satan hisses.    The misfit years of my childhood come back to haunt me.  I was shy and awkward.  I never felt good enough.  Satan continues . . . "You weren't good enough then, you still aren't good enough now."  I am reminded of my differences.  They hate you because you are conservative.  For a moment I wish I wasn't . . . I wish I could just be one of them.  I know these thoughts are wrong.  And even as I have these thoughts, I recognize they come from the author of lies.  But I have come to realize that just because you know something is wrong or is a lie, doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.  I am a misfit.  I can try to pretend for all it is worth that I am not, but the fact is I am.  I believe the Bible and choose to live my life by it's precepts.  While I know this doesn't make me a hater, I know there are some that think I am.  I love Hobby Lobby and Duck Dynasty.   But I am not filled with hate towards those that see things differently.  Yet, I have felt the condemnation.  I have felt the unacceptance.

So tonight I am at a crossroads.  There is a big part of me that wants to wallow . . . to throw the biggest Pity Party Bash this side of the Mississippi.  To roll around in my anger and to justify my depression.  I spent much of today lamenting my life to my husband . . . telling him how no one I know has had the amount of flooding we have had, telling him how no one likes me and I don't know if I really have any "real friends".  I did such a great job with the pre-party, that the Pity Party could really be the event of the year.   Perhaps I could really wow the party goers with a flood of tears . . . or better yet a nervous breakdown.  Yes, it wouldn't take much . . . not really a stretch at this point, to reach the nervous breakdown point.  But there is just one problem with this scenario.  While a big part of me relishes the thought of the Pity Party . . . delights in the idea of the depression wallow . . . there is this still small voice . . . the voice that says, "Peace be still."  I don't understand this voice.  I don't see why all this keeps happening.  I question this voice.  I think this voice has me confused with someone far stronger and better equipped than I.  But I listen.  I know the voice is God's.  I don't like this chapter in my life.  I want my life of peace.  I want the life of order and simplicity.  Of quiet and calm.  I don't want what has been allowed.  But again I hear the voice . . . "Peace, be still."  How do I find peace in the chaos?  How do I find contentment in disaster?  Or acceptance where anger is prevailing?  I don't have the foggiest idea . . . other than this . . . "Peace be still, I am with you."

And therein lies the answer.  "Peace be still, I am with you."  When life's circumstances seem too great, when negativity threatens to eat me alive and anger bubbles from deep within, "Peace be still, I am with you."  It isn't about me . . . and I realize it never has been.  My circumstances, at this moment in time, quite frankly suck.  I don't like my life right now.  It "stinks on ice", to quote my son.  But it isn't about our circumstances.  It isn't even about whether we feel loved or accepted.  I don't.  In fact I am less secure in who I am as a human being right now than I ever have been.  But it isn't about that.  Who am I in God?  And more importantly, take me out of the picture . . . who is God?  What is life without God?  We live in a world where we celebrate ourselves . . . we are taught to build each other up and to believe in such things as self esteem and self value.  We are told we have rights and we can be anything we want to be.  We are woman, hear us roar.  But really?  Didn't God create us?  Doesn't the Bible teach us that we were created for HIS glory?  Doesn't anything that we are, any value we may have not only come from God but deserve to be ABOUT God?  The talents I have are not MY talents.  They come from God . . . I am created in His image and if there be any good in me, it is God.  Without God I am nothing.  I am not love, I am not kindness, I am not compassion.  Whatsoever is good, noble, of good repute, only comes from God.  This is more than I can wrap my brain around . . . so much bigger than my comprehension.  But I know it to be true.  So I know, regardless of where I am right now on my journey in life, I can have peace.  Because it isn't about me and it never has been.  I am a created being who's very existence is not only because of God but also FOR God.   This is why we can walk in victory regardless of circumstances.  This is why in James we are taught to "Count it all joy."  Because it is all about God.  Every breath we take, every move we make.  It is all about God and always has been.  While I do pray for relief from the present circumstances, I have come to realize that my joy should have nothing to do with my circumstances.  There is a song that begs the question, "If I lost it all, would my hands stay lifted . . . to the God who gives and takes away?"  And the answer has to be yes!!  Whatever my lot, though has taught me to say, "It is well, it is well with my soul."

So there you have it.  We can be wallowers or followers.  While wallowing is tempting and in our self serving society, very acceptable, it leads to destruction.  It feeds the sins of selfishness, arrogance and pride.  I am nothing but through Christ I have everything.  I am crucified in Christ therefore I no longer live.  Jesus Christ now lives through me.

I apologize if I have been a bit too heavy today . . . but I have been going through the fire and I am just now catching a glimpse of why . . . at the purification and cleansing the fire can bring . . . and the peace that comes by not only allowing, but fully accepting the "burn."

At the beginning of this post I also mentioned that there have also been good things happening lately in life.   And truly there has been . . . through all of these trials, I have not only come to the place of great peace with the Lord, but I have grown in my marriage to an incredible man who is a great spiritual leader to me and our boys.  I have come to see what matters and what doesn't (and believe me, most of it doesn't.)  My business is growing and I am praying that God will continue to show me the steps He does and does not want me to take with it.  Pride and self promotion are easy pitfalls in creative businesses and I so want to always be honoring to the Lord.  My sweet friends, Daniel and Abby, of Forgotten Way Farms, have started another avenue of business, called Forgotten Way Films.  I am honored that they chose to come to our farm, during last summer's "Pickin' on the Prairie" event and film a wonderful 69 second spot on the event.  I think they did a great job!  Take a peek here!  I do so hope each of you can join us at this year's "Pickin' on the Prairie, August 16th and 17th, here at Past Blessings Farm.  We have some amazing vendors and the show is filling up quickly.  From antiques, primitives, home decor, jewelry, art and more, there will be something for everyone . . . coupled with great food and music, it is an event you won't want to miss.  So mark your calendars.

God is good all the time . . . . regardless of my circumstances.  Praying you find joy in where you are right now and that the peace of God will fill your soul.