Monday, January 9, 2017

Family Photos

I know you all may tire of seeing the latest family photos we had taken, but I love every one of them!  I want to be sure to put a few of them here so I can scroll through and see them whenever I want to, ha!

These are the kids' faces every.single.time we kiss.  And that is often!  I remind them how blessed they are to have parents who love one another so much.

Hen Hollow Homestead Family

These two are my heart...walking around outside my body.

More kissing...can there ever be too much?  This man.  So thankful he is mine!

Friday, January 6, 2017

A New Year

Happy New Year from the homestead!  While 2016 was not a bad year, we are always excited about a new year ahead.  We cannot wait to see what blessings God has for us in 2017.  It is fun for me to look ahead and begin dreaming about the spring, when we will uncover the garden and plant lots of delicious food.  I've been spending some time watching videos and doing research online, figuring out what I want to plant this year.  I am hoping to can lots of yummy food this year, so a large garden is a must!

Before I completely put 2016 to bed, I want to share a few pictures from the last couple of months.  I've wanted to write here, and had several posts mulling around in my mind, but I think the Lord wanted me to just be quiet for a bit because each time I would sit to write, the words would not flow.  After several attempts, I decided to just listen to that little voice and not write for a bit.  I am thankful to be back now, and have some fun (and some not so fun) pictures to share.

Levi has re-discovered the joys of whittling, carving, and woodworking.  He made a few Christmas gifts to give to family, but unfortunately, there was a whittling accident before he could finish all of them.  He was working on a coaster for my brother-in-law when his knife slipped and he cut his finger.  He is very cautious, but accidents just happen sometimes.  We took him to the minor emergency clinic and had him stitched right up!  Now, after a couple of weeks, his stitches are out and everything is healing up well.  He can't wait to get back to work, and already has big plans.  Brave boy!!  The doctor even said he was the toughest boy she'd ever seen.  The LARGE needle full of numbing meds took a while to go in, and was given around two of his knuckles...and he squeezed my hand pretty hard, but was SO brave! The cut took ten stitches!

Levi soaking the wound before the stitches were put in.

After the stitches were removed.  He is a trooper!

Natalie is loving photography as always, and is developing lots of talent!  She enjoys outdoor pictures as well as pictures of people.  She likes to be creative and took these pictures the other day.  She used a small bundle of LED lights, and took the photos in a dark room.  I think they are awesome!

For a little adventure, we took the kids down to the stockyards to walk around, enjoy some lunch, and do the cattle pen maze.  We had a great time together, laughing and talking and enjoying the day.  Natalie took some great photos there as well, but I don't have any of them.  She will have to share some soon.

Lunch!  Our burgers were delicious!
Of course no post would be complete without an update on our hens.  They are not liking the short days, and the lack of sunshine means we aren't getting very many eggs.  But they are still mostly happy, though chilly. 

The girls!

We are so thankful for the two of you who read here ;)  We continue to enjoy life on the homestead, and can't wait to see what God has for us in 2017!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Hand Lettered Love

Natalie, who is now 13 years old, has worked diligently to become quite skilled at hand lettering.  She loves to doodle and read.  When you put those things together, you get a love for beautifully written words.  She enjoys lettering meaningful scripture and also great quotes.

With the holiday season upon us, Natalie has decided to turn her hobby into a small business.  She is offering her hand-lettering services for a small fee, and I will also be posting some of her work for sale here.  If you are interested in having her letter something special for you, or for a gift, please let us know.  We will mail the completed project to you in time for holiday gift-giving! 

Here is an example of her work...she does some simple black and white lettering, but also uses quality watercolors to enhance some of her work as well.  I know I am partial, but I think she does an amazing job! 

My Soul Finds Rest In God Alone

Have a quote or scripture you would like to see? Contact us by commenting here, or send and email to:


Sunday, November 6, 2016


With it being election year, we are constantly bombarded with political opinions.  Everyone feels bold and thinks that spewing hatred on social media will somehow win over or convince their 'friends' so that their candidate will win.  I am not on Facebook, but sometimes troll on Nathaniel's account in order to see what's going on out there in the world.  Honestly, I am so thankful that I don't have Facebook.  What a way to be continually frustrated, jealous, and discontent with life!  Seriously!  Between this, and all of the people re-connecting with old flames and then leaving their spouses, I think I am better off without it.  I've always said that I should have been born as Ma Ingalls, and she didn't worry with Facebook, so why should I!  Ha!

Anyway, this post isn't really about Facebook.  It's about my citizenship.  I'm a registered voter.  In fact, I turned 18 my senior year of high school and I remember how excited I was that I could register and cast my very first vote in an official election.  I thought I had arrived!  I continue to try to make solid, educated choices when I cast my ballot in an election, whether it be a local race or a vote for a presidential candidate.  I've long said, though, that sometimes choosing who to vote for is like picking your favorite mosquito out of the swarm.  There aren't any good choices. 

I've been shocked at all of the hatred and mud being slung in the current presidential race.  Sadly, I'm not talking about the hatred that the candidates are throwing at each other.  That is what I have come to expect from any candidate.  But the shock has been to watch and read as Christians, those who wear the name of Christ, say terrible and awful things with great gusto, justification, and confidence. 

Here's the truth for me.  Folks, I don't ever want to ruin my testimony for Christ because I feel the need to speak harshly in order to support or oppose a candidate in an election.  I love America, but the bottom line is, my citizenship lies elsewhere.  I am a child of the King, and my citizenship is in Heaven.  I am only passing through here, and while I love this country and all that it was founded upon many years ago, my freedom is in Christ alone.  I believe with all of my heart that God will fulfill His plan for me no matter who wins the election. I've said to others in recent weeks that it isn't about a donkey (Democrats) or an elephant (Republicans).  For me, it is all about a lamb.  THE Lamb.  Jesus Christ.  Maybe I should have a t-shirt made!  Who wants to hook me up?  Ha!

So there it is.  The National Anthem brings me to tears often, but even more-so do songs like Amazing Grace and It Is Well With My Soul.  Because it is.  My life is filled with amazing grace, and it truly is well with my soul.

So what about you?  Are you more concerned with a donkey, and elephant, or The Lamb?  Choose wisely, your life really does depend on it.

But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.
--Philippians 3:20-21 (MSG)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Favorite Book Characters

Recently, the kids enjoyed dressing up as some of their favorite book characters.  They both love to read, and enjoy the adventures they take with the characters in the books.  Natalie has recently been re-reading the Little House on the Prairie series.  She read them years ago, but has especially enjoyed reading them again, and viewing them through a different lens as a teen.  Levi has finally embraced reading, and is enjoying the Harry Potter series, along with other quality books I have helped him to choose. :)

Levi as Harry

Natalie as Laura Ingalls Wilder

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

When Life Seems Ever-Changing

---I know.  It has been too long.  And how dare I leave the last post as the one with all of the *ahem* awkward potty humor?  Seriously, I should be punished.  Someone please send me to my room for some quiet time and a nap.  PLEASE?!---

But back to the post.

Isn't it true that things often don't end up the way we expect them to?  How often do you think you know how things are going to go, only to discover that there are changes, kinks in the plan, surprises?  Sometimes it even feels as though nothing goes as you expected it to.  We've all been there at some point in our lives, yes? And if you haven't, well...just give it time.

Such has been life here on the homestead.  We've had plenty of normal, and also, plenty of not-what-we-expected.  It's just life, I suppose, but it does keep me from writing here.  Time runs away from me, and since I am now forty *cough-cough*, it is running faster than I can keep up.  Who am I kidding, I've never been a runner.

We are well into our sixth year of homeschooling, and every year there are changes.  Just when I think we have things down, and know what our rhythm is, there are twists and turns.  Along with the new, and harder curriculum (Natalie is now an 8th grader!) comes other things.  This school year (since September) has been peppered with many doctor appointments and tests for me.  I have some damage to my throat/voice that we have now decided is from a rare type of reflux that I was having no symptoms for until June.  I have had scopes and tests and studies, accompanied by the bills that go with them, ugh.  I have what I hope will be a final appointment next week, and then we will have a definitive plan to move forward and solve the problem.  I just want relief from the near-constant discomfort, and I NEED to be able to sing again.  I've been very limited, and even when I do sing, it is pretty uncomfortable for several days afterwards.  As a vocalist, this must be fixed.  I'm trusting that it will be, and I'm hoping it will be sooner rather than later.  Pray with us for this?

So needless to say, with all of the unexpected's, we are a little behind where I would like to be for school.  BUT, that is the beauty of home education, right?  We can be a bit behind, and then we can catch up or even get ahead if we want to.  We can follow the ebb and flow of life, and accomplish what needs to get done, all the while learning to work together, care for one another, and laugh along the way.  The most important things I can teach my children are life skills, and how to love others.  How to reach out to the broken and the lonely, how to root for the underdog, how to trust Jesus in ALL THINGS, and how to share Jesus with those around us.  To me, this is much more important than math or science or spelling.  Don't get me wrong, we see great value in those things and study them here in our homeschool, but FIRST comes our Christian walk.  Heaven is more important than college or career.  Truth.

Fall is supposedly here on the Homestead.  We have yet to feel it, but the calendar declares that is is fall, and so we trust it is coming...eventually.  We anxiously await the turning leaves, brisk mornings, and wearing our scarves and boots.  Even the seasons change in their own time, and are not forced to follow rules and calendars.  They, too, can be unexpected and ever-changing, just like this life we live.

There are lots of projects going around here, between our farm and my parents' farm across the way.  Working some more on my dad's new barn, planning a new entry for our place because of crazy road construction, keeping the grasses mowed and the bushes trimmed, and always trying to catch the elusive bobcat that likes to feast on our chickens.  (We have seen him, but have yet to be able to catch him.)  Winter is the quiet time on the farm, without gardens to tend and other outdoor things to maintain.  It is a time for reflection and then a time to renew our energies and plans for the next year of growth and work on the farm.  We look forward to time indoors, complete with yummy smelling oils diffusing, cozy blankets, and curling up on the couches with good books.

More change has come our way, as we have begun attending a new church gathering.  Truth be told, as with many changes in life, it has not been an easy one.  Being welcomed is one thing, but being included and accepted is a whole different thing.  Maneuvering that as an adult can be a challenge, but walking teens and tweens through it can be downright painful  The pain is real, the tears they fall. We are growing as a family through the challenges.  We are learning life lessons.  And we are learning that things aren't always what you expect them to be.  For me personally, I am seeing that there are some beliefs that I hold dear to my heart.  I believe that God put them there, and they are precious to me.  But because they are non-salvation issues, and we were not finding them at any of the congregations we attended, I thought I had to let them go a bit.  The truth is, through the struggles at our new church home, I am seeing more and more that God blessed me immensely with those beliefs, and that I should not let go of them.  I know it seems vague, but I just don't want to call out things, or stir up debates here.  I need this to continue to be a place where I can share my heart sometimes, and so I am choosing not to go into specifics.  If you really want to know, email me! ;)  Sometimes things just don't go the way you expect, but we trust God.  Our hope is found not in earthly things, or people, or even congregations.  Our hope is Jesus Christ.  He is the ONE that matters.

Just as life is always changing, so are my sweet kids.  Natalie is a teen, and is growing into a beautiful, smart, funny young lady.  We share lots of laughter, which I treasure in my heart.  Just a few weeks ago, she chose to be baptized.  It was a day of JOY for us!  Knowing she has chosen to follow Christ all the days of her life, well, there is nothing better.

Natalie's Baptism September 22, 2016

These two share a special bond.

The JOY of new life!


Levi is a tween and is maturing before our very eyes.  His dedication to daily scripture reading both morning and evening make my mommy heart smile.  He is smart, and so very witty, just like Nathaniel.  He loves to build and create, and continues to have an amazing imagination.  He is a delight.

These two are my heart!

Nathaniel still loves his work, which is a blessing, and of course I am happy to be juggling all things related to our home.  Spending my days with the kids is fun (most of the time), and I wouldn't trade this job for anything in the world.  It takes great sacrifice, especially financially, for me to be at home with them.  I don't take that for granted, not for one second.  And when I have crazy ideas and schemes, everyone usually follows along.  Ha!

He loves me!

Yes, life is ever-changing.  The weather, the schedule, church homes, attitudes, and even your underwear will all change, some more often than others.  Ha!  Sometimes we feel in control of those changes, and other times, it seems as though everything just swirls around us.  Either way, we can always rest easy.  There is One who never changes.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Nothing surprises Him.  He knows what the day holds for us before we even get out of bed.  And thankfully He holds the day.  He holds us.  Jesus Christ, the solid rock on which we stand.  Trust Him.  Be still...  

The Jones Family 2016

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Lesson Learned

WARNING:  This story does include some bathroom humor, but the story must be told.  It is much too funny to keep to myself!  Be prepared to laugh until your sides hurt, and you'll have tears streaming down your cheeks.  Trust me on this.

Not long ago we were in the health food store in our neighboring town.  We love to do some of our shopping there, and we were out of a few things so we stopped in.  I needed to run to the restroom when we first arrived, so Nathaniel and the kids went their own way, perusing the aisles for something new to try.  I headed to the back of the store to the restroom, and then went to gather the things on my list.  A little while into my shopping, Natalie comes to me in a bit of a panic, hides behind me, and attempts to tell me a story while laughing/crying all at the same time.  Here is the story that unfolded:

Natalie had tired of shopping with Nathaniel so she had gone back to the restroom thinking she would find me.  She was standing in the restroom, and heard some...noises from the next stall.  She, as teenagers tend to do, thought the worst and assumed that it was ME making the ummmm....noises.  Yes, can you believe it?!  So she decides to spray the bathroom liberally with peppermint essential oil air freshener that is on the counter.  After spritzing the room well, waving it all around dramatically, she decided it wasn't enough.  Sweet Natalie decided to say something in an attempt to be funny to her mother, whom she thought was the one in there making those loud, un-graceful bathroom noises that come after you've eaten something that didn't agree with you.  So she says in a most sassy tone, "Good Luck!!" and giggles.  ***crickets***  There was silence (except for the noises).  No quick and witty response from mom.  Then she noticed an eye, perring at her through the crack of the stall door.  And IT WASN'T MOM'S EYE!!  ***Cue terror***  She realized it wasn't me, and apologized before darting from the restroom mortified of her mistake.  That is when she came to me, hiding behind me and the cart, red as a cherry! 

I could not stop laughing.  Truth be told, I still laugh every time I think about it.  It was mortifying for her, but I find it hysterical.  Nothing better to keep a teen humble that a bad bathroom humor experience.  Seriously, still laughing!  HAHAHAHAHA!

**Note:  This story was retold with permission from Natalie.  I would not embarrass her intentionally (okay, maybe I would, but not like this!).  Next time you see her, simply utter the words "Good Luck" and she will know what you mean! HAHA!