The Bonus

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.

My Precious Wynn Before His First Swim Meet

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….

Wade Patrick Walker

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

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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……

Wyatt Allen Douglas

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.

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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…

 

Stir Fry Chicken

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.

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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.

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Montana Marie

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.

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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.

The Greatest Spice Ever!!!

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 eco0O4A6477nomical, 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!

Baked Spaghetti

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.

“Baked Spaghetti”

Ingredients

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

Directions:

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.

The First Last

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.

Marytina On Faith, Family And The Farm

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.

School 2015Everyone 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…

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The First Last

 

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.

School 2015Everyone 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 sure the needs and schedules are met, jumping in and out of cars, kitchens, athletic events, concerts and such that we miss the mini moments that are precious. I have tried hard my whole life to soak everything in and yet I know there are times I have failed miserably.

Now, today, my daughter started her senior year. Every moment from now till graduation is a “First Last”, and I want them to last in my heart forever.  Not so that I can hang on to her but so that I can let her go. As a parent, up to this point I have rarely contemplated letting go, but in reality we start letting go the minute God blesses us with their presence. I am praying everyday that God will allow me to do it with grace. That with all four of these precious gifts God has given me to raise I will give them the freedom to become all that He has for them.

Being a mother is the single most important opportunity I have been granted in my life. Of all the accomplishments I have been blessed with as an individual over the years, motherhood is number one. What I do with my children affects eternity on levels I am unable to comprehend, but I know that it is the most significant calling I will ever have.

And so I encourage all mothers to celebrate the “First Lasts” that come your way. Relish those moments and tuck them away for safe keeping when time runs short. The best is yet to come.

Fixin Fence

I am trying desperately to start writing again and in going through that process I came upon this post from last Fall and found it very on target with where I am at right now. As of today, I have a high school senior and the idea that my children are becoming adults right before my eyes is overwhelming. Holding my kids tight and enjoying the ride. Hope you are too.

Marytina On Faith, Family And The Farm

As a mother, I thank God everyday for the love and health of my children. I am humbled to watch them grow and walk along side and witness God’s hand in molding who they each are to become. I was reminded of this the other day when we got a call to check one of the pastures we have cattle on, as there was a report of a hole in the fence. A calf had ventured out and gotten herself into trouble eating the ditch grass on the wrong side of the fence. After a quick trip to the pasture the problem was remedied but the hole in the fence was not. Of course my “Man of the North” was working the other farm and unavailable. So as is most days the burden falls to my oldest son.  He has become my mainstay in times of need.

Wyatt in PastureHome I went…

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