Makin’ Bacon

We have harvested a few pigs now, so I feel like we’re kind of getting the hang of the process. My favorite part, aside from eating never-frozen ribs the night of harvest, is making the bacon. It is a long process. There are a lot of steps involved. But the end result is so rewarding. I don’t even really like bacon from the store. If we’re at a restaurant I will always pick breakfast sausage over bacon. I don’t like cooking store-bought bacon. I always end up getting burned from the grase splatters. But homemade bacon is a whole different food. Sweet, salty, deliciousness. Continue reading

Children’s Book Writing

My mom and I wrote a children’s book last year. The story is based on our personal experience with stillbirth. It tells the news of the loss in terms my then-three-year-old could understand. Our story explains that although it is a sad moment in time, we can still enjoy the life we’ve been given and be witnesses for God’s love in all circumstances. It is a very personal story. But there are so many others who are going through the same situation and I pray our story can help others find hope. Continue reading

Social Media

I oftentimes don’t have time for a great post about what’s happening in my life, but I do have time for a quick photo and share! You can find me on Instagram @sandhillcranelove where I share pictures mostly of the homestead and my kids (both human and caprine).

This week I decided it was high time I took a break from Facebook. I’ve been talking about the need for it for months, but kept holding onto that leash because of the groups I’m in. But I finally decided it was time. So I updated my status with alternate contact methods and deleted the apps from my devices. I feel so free! And I’ve been so much more productive.

Which means I should have more posts coming soon since I won’t be as distracted by notifications. I’m getting through some unrelated research now and then I can focus on the blog more. I want to tell you about making bacon, tools of the trade, the automatic rain barrel waterer, writing a children’s book, and more! Check out @sandhillcranelove on Instagram for preview pics. 😉

Secrets of a Successful Homeschool Mom: A Book Review

secrets homeschool image

Secrets of a Successful Homeschool Mom: A Manifesto of Freedom and Joy in Home Learning
Jamie C. Martin
41 pages
Published 2012

This was a super quick ebook full of helpful hints for the homeschooling family, or, like me, someone considering the homeschool option. Amazon states that most people take 30 minutes to read it. I took three days because, well, distractions, and also, I wanted to absorb the information. Continue reading

Winter Garden: A Book Review

This is my third book by Kristin Hannah in a month. Once again, this book is about strained relationships and the unlikely way that they are restored. Hannah shows how a mother’s silence about her own history can cause a lifetime of misunderstandings and broken relationships, and how the truth can reclaim love. 

The father is the loving husband and doting father, while the mother, Anya, has struggled all of her daughters’ lives to show them the affection that they crave. The sisters grow apart as they enter adulthood as Meredith stays home, marries, and takes over the family business, and Nina is a globetrotting photojournalist, avoiding home and the painful memories that exist there. 

When their father has a massive heart attack and dies, the sisters are left to deal with their grief – and their mother – in their own ways. Meredith stays put and stoicly cares for Anya, who seems to be developing dementia, while Nina heads into a war zone to document the struggle of complete strangers.

After several months, Nina returns to find Anya in a nursing home. Meredith, fulfilling her promise to care for her mother, made the best choice she could under the circumstances. But Nina is furious and immediately moves Anya back home. Before his death, Nina had promised her father to get to know her mother, and she realizes she has run away from that promise. She urges her mom to tell the whole ‘fairy tale’ that she used to tell her daughters as young girls. Meredith feigns disinterest, but can’t help but listen in to the beginning of the familiar story.

Through the telling of the story, which takes place during the siege of Linengrad in the 1930s, Meredith and Nina learn more about their mom than they ever bargained for. As children they never heard the tale in its entirety. It turns out the story is not a fairy tale at all, but Anya’s life story. Through her telling, Anya releases fears that she has held on to for decades. It is a story of strength and courage, but filled with heartbreak.

Finally, her daughters begin to understand why their mother reacted in certain ways while they were children. The women all learn to open up to one another and to love unconditionally.

This story has repressed anger, love withdrawn, and debilitating fears, but it is a story of courage, hope, and a love that bears all.

The Beauty of Friendship

My perspective on friendship has been completely overturned lately. It all started over a year ago….

We were studying the book of Proverbs and that week’s lesson was on friendship. I can’t remember what the specific question was, but I confessed that I really wasn’t a good friend. I just didn’t have time for real friends. I was the kind of person who had to plan time to visit. But even then something might come up. If I or a friend was having a bad day we might message back and forth on Facebook or by text, but we didn’t stop what we were doing to really dive into it and support each other. I had lots of surface friends. Lots of online friends, many of whom I really did know in person, but whose relationship primarily took place online.

Fast forward a couple months and my community showed up in a big way in the wake of Faith’s death. The meals provided were greatly appreciated. The help around the house was priceless. But the visits and the willingness to accept me for who I was on any given day was the most precious gift. I have held on to that this past year.

Now I find myself with several friendships that could only be orchestrated by God. These people that have been placed in my life at just the right time so that we can be a blessing to one another. Ones that have enriched my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Where I can call up a friend and stop by for a quick visit – or just stop by unannounced. Ones where texting just doesn’t do it so we call to talk. Ones where we can celebrate in our mom triumphs, talk through the hard stuff, and literally cry on each other’s shoulder when we are just exhausted -mentally, physically, spiritually. These friendships in which we can openly talk about God, how he is molding us, where he is calling us, and how we are learning to respond to Him. Nothing is off limits. It is real, honest friendship with no judgement, only love.

I can’t even imagine being that selfish ‘friend’ that I used to be. I don’t hesitate to make time for my friends anymore. Sure, my to do list is a mile long, but it always will be. A morning coffee with a friend will always lead to a better day for us both. That next project can be done later.

I didn’t know these live and in person friendships could still exist in this fast-paced, technologically-driven world that we live in. That they could be so much deeper than those hiding behind a screen.All it takes is a little time to cultivate these friendships and the willingness to be there when it matters.