As the end of Summer has been approaching and school is beginning for many, I have been contemplating our life and all the changes we have endured as most people have. I have also been considering the things in our life that continue to be consistent. In such uncertain times it has been so good to have areas of life we can count on. Things that we know won’t change. Places we can go for solace and comfort as well as discipline and learning.
My youngest boy Wynn has continued to grow and thrive(for the most part) despite COVID 19 and all that has come with it. One of the mainstays for him has been the farm and what it offers in terms of activity and consistency. He might argue with me some as I am speaking from and parent perspective and he is definitely a normal 13 year old. But, regardless of how this whole thing goes, I am confident that the major skills my boy will need to be productive, strong of spirit and mind as well as successful, he finds here every day on the farm.
Society today looks upon work as a means to an end. It is the thing we do so we can ultimately do something fun. It is not generally considered to be “fun”. Work here on the farm can be fun, but it can be hard too. However, in all of it there is value, and the opportunity to push oneself beyond just putting in time so as to move on to the real part of life. It is real life and there is a level of joy and satisfaction to be found there if one is taught to look. Furthermore, as one sows in to hard work, one shall reap great reward. Teaching our children to value the satisfaction and importance of hard work is paramount in developing the leaders of tomorrow.
This past week I witnessed my youngest son embracing the commitment of his birthright. He understood and answered the call to work beyond what he thought he could or would and help his family to accomplish what needed to be done. He sacrificed his video games, time with friends and all that goes with that because he was needed. In doing so he learned great lessons about the importance of helping others even when you don’t want to, working harder and longer than planned and experienced the true gratitude of family for a job well done and finished.
As a mom, I feel strongly that some of the best things we can do for our children will not be popular with them. They may protest, and sulk, only to be suprised by how the request will shift their perspective long term and open them up to all kinds of future opportunities. My Wynn is a good boy. He is obedient, respectful and true hearted. But that is learned. So, where is your 13 year old? Is he or she missing out on opportunity to grow. Take advantage of your options, no matter where you live and impact you child for eternity. Be unpopular, be strong and be what they truly need.
On August 14th, 2020, my oldest son Wyatt married his “Sweets”. It was a romantic journey of two young high school sweethearts joining together in the presence of friends and family to commit to one another forever. We have all been blessed to witness a story like this throughout our lives.
The difference for me this time is that it was my boy marrying his girl and I was part of the story. Moreover, with the chaos of the times we are living in, we were forced to function in a level of flux like no other time in our world. As I sit back and contemplate all the processing, planning, re-planning, shifting, counting, cooking, shopping and crying that took place preparing for this wedding, I am so thankful to testify that God was in every detail. Sometimes in the moments of confusion about what decision to make and how to make it, we can forget that our God knew we would be here. More importantly, He knew we would need Him and He hoped we would call upon Him for help.
Once out of the center of the wedding universe, I have been blessed to look back at all the times I called upon Him to rescue us from another hurdle, to make a way where there seemed to be no way. I am so very thankful to have a Savior to call upon for relief, guidance and comfort. So often we set out to do all things in our own strength, overlooking the power of the Almighty. His longing for our relationship is forgotten and yet, even in His word He clearly states, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7.
This day was important to so many. It proved to be a blessing beyond measure despite the controversies of the society we are currently living in. We were victorious in celebrating and honoring our God through union of these to beautiful people down to the very last tiny detail. Thank you God for being there.
In late 2006 God decided to grace me with a gift. I will profess that I had moments of sincere doubt about this gift from time to time during my pregnancy. In fact I shamefully admit that in the beginning I was challenged emotionally and grossly unsure if I was prepared for another child at 38 years of age. My youngest at the time was already 7! If I did anymore math I would quickly realize that I was just old and when this baby came I would be even older.
On August 12, 2007, Wynn Edward Marshall Lawrence would enter the scene and shake everything up. The moment he was born my whole perspective on what it means to have a child when you least expect it changed. He witnessed to me on every level what the love of Christ looks like and taught me to trust God in a whole new way.
Fast forward and it is now 2020 and in a week Wynn will turn 13. And yes that means I am 52! But here is the thing. As my three other children are in the midst of adulthood, getting married, starting graduate school and college across the country, I am thankful and blessed to have Wynn. Moreover, he has shown me a level of love and compassion that can only be given to him by the Almighty. His tender comforting spirit and pure love for me has rescued me from days of despair and helped me to focus on what matters. The truth is, he is not a tag along, an oops, or a mistake. He is a true gift and will forever be my “BONUS”. Meet Wynn Lawrence….
Born on election day in the year 2000, Wade Patrick Walker was a forced to be reckoned with. I used to say that as a small toddler, Wade was like the energizer bunny. He never stopped moving. His feet were moving before they hit the ground and if you did not have a hold on him you would be chasing him. Wade also added a new element to our family dynamic in that he was the third and with his arrival my farmer husband and I were officially outnumbered. He was born 360 days after his brother Wyatt and only two years and a half years after his sister. Yes, three children in 30 months.
When Wade hit the seen much became a blur for me as a mom. I have no idea how I survived those early years. Three under three, three in diapers, and th
Wade is a college athlete as well, continuing his swimming career. I traveled to Maryland to watch him swim last Fall. It was the first time I saw him after he left for college.
ree beautiful bountiful bundles of joy. There are moments when I wish I could remember more. It is a clicque but time does fly and now those three are 21, 20 and 19. Life is still full.
We quickly understood that Wade was his own man. From day one he moved at record pace and when he began to speak, it become apparent to me that his intelligence level and creativity were leaps and bounds beyond my own. He would begin to share his thoughts and I would quickly realize that he was at least five steps ahead of my understanding when he started talking and that catching up with him would be a common thing.
Most important about my Wade is the anointing he has on his life. From a very young age (4 or 5), I realized that he had a unique heart and love for the LORD. His desire to seek and save the lost began as early as 1st grade and to this day, he is my evangelist. Always thinking deep and looking for ways to share the gospel, Wade is currently studying Pastoral Leadership at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA.
That leads to the other cray thing about Wade. From age 5 he has wanted to buy a motor home and see the world. I have known since then that Wade would be my traveler and adventurer. I am so very excited to see where God will take him and my heart is broken to see him go. I will share more on that in the future. For now I would like to introduce you to Wade Patrick Walker……
Today I would like to introduce you to my oldest son Wyatt. When Wyatt was born I was bit unsure what I would do with a boy. I know that sounds heartless but please indulge me for a moment. Montana came first and with the exception of a father and now a husband I grew up around all girls. When this handsome big boy was born I was a bit tentative about my ability to care for him.
Claire took this photo of Wyatt last year. It is one of my most favorites. It captures all about him that I love.
From the moment Wyatt arrived on the seen he was a force to be reckoned with and is, to this day. A natural born leader with a quiet focused presence, I admire him with every passing day. My hesitancy about him in the beginning was immediately an afterthought as I found myself head over heels in love with this big eyed adorable little boy, full of determination and drive. I have been blessed to be his mom and enjoyed watching him pursue his dreams. He is about to officially begin his life as a husband with his beautiful fiance Claire (my photographer) and I am excited for him.
I mentioned in my post last week on Montana, that life is changing much right now. Wyatt stepping out and becoming the man of his own house is something I knew would come and I thought I was prepared for it. Watching him care for his future wife, anticipating his life as a husband and father, I feel every emotion a human being can experience. He has been my heart for so long, as my first and oldest boy, and yet I know that letting him go is a must. Being Wyatt’s mother has taught me so much about what love really looks like. I am so proud of him.
He is currently studying Agricultural Economics/Animal Science at the University of Minnesota and will graduate a year early due to his diligence. One of my greatest joys has been watching him serve with his sister on the Junior National Hereford Board. He has been successful in all he has set his mind to becoming quite the cattleman despite his young age. The future for him is bright and though my role as his mom is changing by the day, my love for him continues to grow. I look forward to watching he and Claire grow together. Both are big dreamers with many goals and a nonstop attitude. Their potential is endless. Meet my Wyatt…
I have been making a version of this dish for many years and it has changed as I have grown as a cook. It is a mainstay in our home as it provides all the necessary nutritional needs for the family in one punch. My kids have always enjoyed this recipe but about two and half years ago it became important for an unexpected reason.
This is my beautiful daughter-in-law to be Claire. She also happens to be my photographer! Check out her work at #clairemarjoriephotography
This Fall, my oldest son will be getting married and we are so very excited for him and his future bride. Claire my soon to be daughter-in-law is gluten intolerant and as their relationship has progressed, I have invested more and more time looking for options that she can eat when she is at the house. This recipe is her favorite. If I am making stir fry, I can count on an extra seat at the table. I have even thought of naming it Claire’s Stir Fry. She takes the leftovers to college with her and has since begun cooking it at home for her family. It has become a connecting point for me with her. She is a blessing to us every day and I am looking forward to officially adding another girl to the house.
The recipe is posted below along with my preparation photos. I hope this meal brings comfort to you and yours as it has for us.
I have been blessed with motherhood four times. Each child has brought me a new level of joy. When I had my first child I did wonder if there is anyway I could ever love something as much as I loved her. Then I had another and another and another…. It gave me great insight into the magnitude of God’s love and its ability to grow in us as we grow in Him. There is no way in my humanness that I could be capable of loving my children the way I do without God.
When Montana was born, I remember the moment like it was yesterday. Instantly, I heard God speak to me about her and the anointing on her life. That in her, He would accomplish much. All I can say in this moment is that He truly has. However, at the time I was so thankful for my sweet girl that I had prayed for. It was all I could do to just focus on not breaking her. Children do not come with instructions. They are given to us with the faith that we will be good stewards of what we have been blessed with. Little do we know in those early days what that will mean.
Montana and I in Denver, CO. She is currently serving on the Junior National Hereford Board. I love this photo of us.
Montana is going to be 22 in a couple of weeks. She is soon to be a college graduate, with a double major in Political Science and Studio Art. She has been a three sport college athlete and will attend law school in the Fall. Most important, she loves the Lord and lives by His principles. She is my only girl. I am blessed to be her mamma (that is what she calls me). I have enjoyed the opportunity to watch her grow into the young woman she has become. I will talk about her often moving forward as she is a 5th of what makes life on earth a joy for me.
Parenting has taught me a great deal about what matters most in life. Becoming a parent was something I did because it made sense. I mean, of course I would have kids. It was what you did. Get married, have a family…. right. I have often said that I always believed I would love my children but I am to this day hopelessly in love with them and who they have become. I am approaching a new stage of parenthood and the adjustment has been grueling. Parenting adult children, watching them become independent, letting go, is hard. It is also, glorious to witness. Not sure how it’s possible to feel so much pain and so much joy all at once. It’s a mystery to me. And yet I am walking in it everyday right now. More on that later…….. for now, meet Montana Marie.
I have been cooking with garlic for many many years. It is not applicable for everything but I find it hard not to use it almost all the time. There are several mediums for using garlic, meaning, we can just us a garlic salt or powder in items but as I have grown in confidence with my cooking I have advance to first a minced garlic that you can find in most grocery stores to fresh.
Once I found this product I am going to feature I have no desire to return to any of my old stand by’s as this is the best of both worlds. When first attempting fresh cloves, I found it cumbersome at times depending on how much time I had to make supper that day. Even though I loved the idea of using fresh, it was not always practical for me and my timeline. I am still a busy mom with much to do every day and mealtime is always a “pressure cooker” time of day for me.
Yet, sacrificing taste and flavor was not something I liked giving up. Now I don’t know about most of you, but I love Aldi grocery for most of my shopping. They are economical, clean and offer most everything I need at an investment I can afford. They are bringing on new products all the time as the popularity has grown and this gem I discovered about 8 months ago.
In the fresh produce section I found a bag of fresh garlic cloves all peeled!!!! The best of both worlds. For all of my recipes I can grab as many out of the bag as I need, chop it up or use them whole, roasted, sauteed or baked and it delivers the flavor and aroma I am looking for. I have attached a photo for you of the bag I purchase. It is the best!
During the years past when I had three student athletes in the house it was so important to make sure that their intake was good. Meaning they could eat a lot… And at times I could get overwhelmed with the task for finding something that would fill them up. I decided to try a few new recipes that allowed me to utilize the resources I had an abundance of. We raise beef cattle and so ground beef is something we have access to on a regular basis. I wanted to create a meal that was not costly that would satisfy the masses.
We are a family of six. Currently, I have the farmer, four kids who are all still active and busy on the farm and three in college. When everyone is home this recipe does not disappoint even today. After hours of hard work outside I can always depend on this meal to keep everyone full and happy. Please see the recipe, photos and directions below. When making this particular meal, I compliment it with a big Caesar salad and homemade french dinner rolls. When I am on the go, I utilize what ever bread I have in the drawer with plenty of butter.
2# of ground beef – browned and seasoned with salt and pepper
1/24oz. jar of spaghetti sauce
1can of diced tomatoes
4 cloves of fresh garlic diced
1 large container of small curd cottage cheese
3# bag of grated mozzarella cheese
12oz of dry spaghetti pasta – when cooked will be double
You will need to preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While oven is heating brown and season the ground beef. Add tomatoes, garlic and sauce to the ground beef and let it simmer on low. Add additional salt to taste.
Take a 9 x 13 inch pan and begin by adding a small layer of cooked pasta on the bottom of the pan and then spread half the cottage cheese on the noodles, then ground beef mixture, then mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layering of each item in order so that you have two complete layers.
Upon completion, cover with foil and bake in oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle on another layer of cheese and let the dish set up for 15 minutes. Then serve.
Well Graduation has come and gone and I am preparing my daughter to take the next step and start her new adventures in college. But in reading this I realized that I have accomplished my goal and I am enjoying every minute of our last few days together.
Watching my children start school this year was more emotional than it has ever been. Today was a day of “First Lasts” for me that really has me thinking about life, love and what really really matters. I am thankful to say that I have a high school senior in my home. My daughter Montana has begun the journey into complete independence.
Everyone is officially in school today and as I watch them all depart from the car one by one, each moving into the next year of their lives, I am so thankful that they are all a part of mine.
However, it has forced me to rethink my rushed way of moving through life and take time to contemplate what it is going to look like next, and how I want to handle the moments big and small. Sometimes I think we get so busy as moms, making…