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

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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.

Overwhelmed and Excited

Guys, I have so much going on these days. Sometimes it feels overwhelming, but oftentimes I find myself just excited about what God is doing in my life.
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Playtime with reflux

Little Man had his 2-month appointment yesterday. He is a thriving, growing boy. At 12lbs12oz he has already gained 5lbs5oz from his birth weight. He has reflux. He DOESN’T have a food allergy. After a month of dairy free living, I’ve been eating dairy all week with no reaction!!! I still have an oversupply but we’re managing it. The oversupply is likely what caused the allergy-like symptoms which led me to eliminate dairy and soy from my diet. He probably has a tongue tie, it is visible, but it’s not to the point that movement is restricted, and clearly he doesn’t have a transfer issue, so we’ll let it be for now. I was reminded once again how much I LOVE my pediatrician. She is a real human being and talks with me like I’m a thinking human being too.

His baptism is this Sunday. This is such a special time for our family as we make a public commitment to teach him about God’s love, raise him in the community of believers, and pray for him as he grows. As an infant this is a covenant baptism, recognizing that we belong to Christ even before we understand it. When he is older he will be able to go through confirmation class and make his own public affirmation of faith. But because he’s so huge, I need to do a small alteration of the baptism outfit that was worn by his Papa and uncle, and made from his great-grandfather’s wedding shirt. The alteration will be a simple crotch extender, so it won’t impact the existing garment.
Littles Monster and Miss are in preschool three times a week and love it. They come home with new songs all the time. They have stories to tell about school. I can see leaps and bounds in their development. Little Monster is also in speech therapy (aka talking school) and will begin OT next week. I am so thankful that we can provide her with the help that she needs so that she can succeed. We are working to help her as much as possible NOW, before she begins VPK. She is so receptive to the help and wants to be understood.
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The best part of baking

 I feel like I’m constantly dealing with health insurance. I was on the phone with the marketplace for 1hr15min on Monday to update our information and switch policies again (I accidentally selected a policy this year that our pediatrician wasn’t covered under. OOPS!!) While insurance always seems to be a nightmare for me, I am SO THANKFUL that we have it. I just hope we can continue to have insurance.
I am always working on too little sleep, not enough patience, and a whole lot of prayer.
My mom and I wrote a children’s book last spring titled The New Baby Went to Heaven. We had a contract with a publishing company. We got through the editing stage, but no further. We learned last week that they suddenly closed their doors. I know that this will be a blessing. We are starting to explore new avenues to get our book published. I’m also excited about the second book we wrote, and two new inspired works that I’ll be working on this year.
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Sweet Baby Faith

Already we have been blessed by another author who also happens to work with NILMDTS, and edited our picture of baby Faith into a beautiful keepsake where she actually looks like the peaceful baby that I so briefly held in my arms instead of the stillborn baby under flourescent lighting. I was so thankful that the hospital took pictures of her, but wished for better quality. One of my regrets was that we didn’t take our own pictures of her while I held her. So this is an amazing gift as we approach her one-year stillbirthday. I now have a picture I can show my living children of their sister that we lost too soon.

The women’s community Bible study started up again last week and I’m loving the new study of 1 Peter, and the fellowship with these amazing women as we learn and grow together. I have never done a study like this – a study on how to really study the Bible. It has been so enriching in just the first week!
I have not been as active on my blog as I would like. I have so many thoughts, but then never get it on screen.
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Lending Library pretties to play with

I continue to volunteer with our local babywearing chapter. I love having another outlet for my writing as I help with the blog (even though I’ve totally slacked on this lately!). This group has meant so much to me. From them I learned how to wear Little Miss with confidence so that I could care for both her and Little Monster when she was little. I have gained so many friendships through the group. They were a huge help to me when we lost baby Faith. They have continued to support me in my mommyhood journey. The group is constantly evolving as people move away or babies grow out of wearing, but the friendships remain.

The farm continues on. We are going to be adding chickens soon, once we can make the time to build the chicken tractor. I’m excited about the future of our farm. I’m excited to be good stewards of the land and animals that we have been blessed with. I learn something everyday!

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